Bundled Filtering and Connectivity

Evolving Networks Logo

The Birmingham Grid for Learning, Rotherham Schools Connect, Worcestershire County Council and Essex County Council have all announced that they will no longer be providing internet connectivity and filtering to schools after the end of March 2020.  These announcements prompted us to consider how we can best support those schools who are now looking for a replacement service.

Changes to Web Proxy Overrides

We have recently rolled out some updates to our default web proxy overrides, which are explained in this blog article.

Overview

Both Web Gateway and UTM provide the same overrides system under the Web Proxy -> Filter Override Editor and Web Proxy -> Filter Overrides & Walled Garden pages.  The overrides allow parts of the system's functionality to be disabled for requests to certain types of content.  Overrides are usually used for the following purposes:

Safeguarding and Counter Terrorism Conference Report

A child talking to an adult

We recently attended a conference held by the Police Service's Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU). The conference was intended to provide an opportunity for a wide variety of organisations involved in online safety to get together and discuss topical issues. There were delegates from online safety suppliers, such as ourselves, as well as from the Home Office, SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, CTIRU, internet service providers, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) to name a few.

Diagnosis: Lloyds Bank Outage

One of our customers reported problems accessing Lloyds Bank's corporate payments gateway, having already called Lloyds.  Lloyds had told them that there were no problems and to clear cookies, add the site to the ActiveX trusted sites list, etc.  Still not working, so must be a problem with the customer's firewall.

The first thing we did was to point a browser at https://payments.corporate.lloydsbank.com/ (on an independent internet connection) and nothing happened - it just sat there waiting.  So clearly Lloyds were having some problems.

Don't Cloud the Issue

Clouds

Moving services into the cloud, which have traditionally been handled internally, is increasingly popular for schools. It is a very attractive proposition: schools can reduce the amount of space dedicated to computer hardware and save administration costs.

For services such as email, this is often a no-brainer. Using a cloud based email system means you don't need a technician to spend their time applying security updates to the email server. You don't need to operate a hardware replacement cycle for the server or allow for premature hardware failures.