Ready for School? Here Are 5 Helpful Tips for Your Web Filter Setup

Just like the solar eclipse, summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Whether school has already started for you or you’re still waiting for students to come pouring in, Lightspeed Systems has you covered with tips, tricks and new tools and features to make the 2017-2018 school year your best one yet.

This summer, we met with the Lightspeed community each week for in-depth webinars highlighting best practices, how-tos and much more info to help you leverage the power of Web Filter 3: Longhorn for your school.

In the final webinar of our Summer of Longhorn series, we asked the Lightspeed community for their top questions about their filter and revealed some handy tips to get set up for success. Watch the webinar replay here, and catch the entire Summer of Longhorn webinar replays here anytime!

We know you’re busy, so in this blog post, read on for some of the critical topics we reviewed and links to Community site resources to keep on hand as you tackle these yourself.

 

1. How can I install SSL certificates?

We’ve dedicated an entire Community site course to help you understand the basics of SSL certificates and map out the many OS- and browser-specific installation instructions to help tailor the process to your setup.

Have users who need to install the proxy certificate themselves? No problem. Send them to http://lsaccess.me/proxycerthelp (when they’re behind a Rocket) and they’ll get specific instructions to complete the process without assistance from IT.

Review this key information to wrap your head around certificates and how they work with Lightspeed Systems solutions.

 

2. How do I set up identification source prioritization?

A major new feature in Web Filter 3: Longhorn is continuous identity management. We’ve evolved with K-12 to allow you to customize how your filter identifies users so you have a holistic picture of activity as students move across networks and mobile devices.

In your Web Filter 3: Longhorn settings, you can prioritize the ways in which users are identified. The filter will attempt to perform identification through the first source, and will then proceed with each source down the list.

If you want to change this order, you can drag and drop your options to reorder identification sources.

Learn more about identification source prioritization here.

 

3. What are inspectors and how are they useful?

We’re always striving to make your lives easier, and in Web Filter 3: Longhorn, we make activity reports easy to digest. For example, visiting a site like CNN.com may load 200 URLs just to hit the front page, but in your reports, you’ll see CNN.com just once. Many times, you’re handing this report off to administrators or teachers or parents, and it needs to be a quick and simple rundown of site activity.

(There are some caveats: We will always show you the full, detailed reporting on YouTube search queries and override session activity.)

When you turn on inspectors, you can do it by the user’s computer name, username or IP address and get the total activity for that particular user. This is a powerful feature for disciplinary investigations or troubleshooting IT issues.

Learn more about inspectors in Web Filter 3: Longhorn here.

 

4. What’s the best way to handle unknown traffic?

An astounding number of new websites pop up every day — some sources indicate it’s as many as 500 every minute.

Anytime the Lightspeed Systems database encounters an unknown site, the site is analyzed by our proprietary, machine-learning technology and human database team before it is categorized.

Our best recommendation for handling unknown traffic until it is categorized? Block it all.

Recently, we updated Web Filter 3: Longhorn to address a key issue relating to unknown URLs: filter bypass tools. Students can access tools like UltraSurf and Psiphon to attempt to circumvent your filter and visit sites that would otherwise be blocked. We’ve moved filter bypass tools to their own module in Web Filter 3: Longhorn, so with just a few clicks, you can block these tools with ease.

Learn more about multilayered bypass protection here and turn it on for the new school year.

 

5. What’s the best way to allow safe YouTube access without creating manual block and allow lists?

If you’re a Lightspeed Systems Web Filter or Relay for Chrome customer and haven’t enabled Smart Play yet, now is the time! Before now, schools had limited choices when it came down to safe access to the vast array of educational content on YouTube: block all videos; allow all videos; build manual block/allow lists; or rely on YouTube Restricted Mode, which is not designed for the needs of schools.

Smart Play leverages the power of AI to safely allow access to 35 million-plus YouTube videos, right at your students’ fingertips. Thumbnails for blocked videos (whether they’re on YouTube.com or embedded in other sites) will be censored, and you get full reporting on all activity.

Learn more about Smart Play, and if you’re not already a member of the Lightspeed Systems community, be sure to request a demo now to see it in action.

If you’re a Lightspeed Systems customer and haven’t upgraded to the latest version of Web Filter, now is the time! Learn how to upgrade here and reach out to us anytime for questions.

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