We give our customers the powerful controls and customization they need to get just the filtering they want. But there are some policies that we recommend for just about everyone because without them turned on, students could potentially get to inappropriate content.
Give your Web Filter a 5-point check-up by verifying these critical settings:
1. Force Safe Search
Without Safe Search on, your users could hit inappropriate search results (especially if you aren’t decrypting search traffic). Safe Search will protect your users whether you’re decrypting SSL traffic or not. When Safe Search is on, Google, Bing and YouTube and blocks adult content from search results (even image results).
- How to: Turn it on in the rule sets (this option will only work if you are using proxy, but it allows the option to be managed by groups of users) (v2) (v3) Turn it on in the General settings to apply it to everyone (whether you’re using the proxy or not). (v2) (v3)
- Tip: Get some help with this troubleshooting post
- When you might not want this on: there’s really no reason not to. If you have a reason, let us know in the comments.
2. Force YouTube Safety Mode
With all the educational videos out there, you may not want to block all of YouTube. But you probably don’t want to open it up entirely either. Turning on YouTube Safety Mode will ensure your users only get to appropriate YouTube videos.
- How to: Turn it on in your general settings (v2) (v3)
- Tip: Another YouTube solution is Campus Library
- When you might not want this on: If you require access to videos that are not considered part of Safety Mode by YouTube and your users do not have GaFE accounts to override, you may not want to use this. In addition there are two modes to this now a strict and a moderate. Our support team can assist in configuring for one or the other but it is a global setting.
3. Block Unknown URLs
New sites are added to the Web every day – and we update our database every day. The fact is, most of these new sites aren’t educational. Blocking them is unlikely to limit the educational value of the web, while leaving them open is likely to expose your users to inappropriate content. When you block unknown URLs, your users are unable to access unknown sites, but those unknown URLs are immediately routed to our database team (of humans and robots) so we can review and categorize the site. Nothing stays unknown for long!
- How to: Turn it on in the rule sets (v2) (v3)
- Tip: with teachers or administrators, you could choose to block unknowns but enable overrides
- When you might not want this on: when troubleshooting a connection to a new site you may want to disable this
4. Block P2P
Peer to Peer (P2P) networks are commonly used for file sharing and instant messaging – and usually not for education. Since P2P traffic can compromise your network and your filtering, we recommend that you block it. If there are specific uses of P2P you’d like to allow, you can then add those in P2P exclusions.
- How to: turn it on in the general settings (v2) (v3)
- When you might not want this on: if you rely on many P2P network services and adding them as exclusions wasn’t successful
5. Set Lockouts
Repeated attempts to access a locked site within one minute are usually a sign of trouble – either an unwanted proxy or a student on a mission to get around the filter. Use Lockouts to lock a user out of internet access after a specified number of attempts to access a locked category. You choose the rule sets this applies to, the categories it applies to, the number of attempts within a minute that lead to a lockout, and how long the lockout lasts.
- How to: configure lockouts in your rulesets (v2) (v3)
- Tip: use the Lockout report to review lockouts and to end current lockouts
- When you might now want this on: on administrator rule sets or during testing periods or other times when a lock out of internet access could be detrimental to learning
The Lightspeed Systems Web Filter is a powerful tool to protect your students. If you aren’t a customer, find out why you should be with a personalized demo today. If you are, use these tips to get the most out of your solution and stay tuned for more tips and tricks to come!