Bloxx: Delivering Flexible Web Filtering for Mount Gilead Exempted Village Schools
“The Bloxx Web Filter has increased staff productivity and it’s definitely saved me time because it simply requires far, far less day-to-day management. It’s a million times better than my previous solution.”
Ryan P. Curtis, Director of Technology, Mount Gilead Exempted Village Schools
Mount Gilead Exempted Village Schools, a locally funded public school district in Ohio, is made up of four schools educating young people from kindergarten to 18 years old. The district focuses on creating an environment which supports and encourages students on their “Journey to Excellence”. Mount Gilead EVS has approximately 1400 students and staff using the Internet across four locations.
Mount Gilead EVS needed a Web filtering product which kept pupils safe online, but that also allowed access to academically-relevant Web sources. Staff also required varying levels of access to the Internet based on their business needs.
The school district had previously been using Web filters from M86 and Lightspeed, but as these were managed by the state ISP, individual schools did not have much control on integration capabilities in their own environment. This inflexible “one size fits all” approach meant that Ryan P. Curtis, Director of Technology for Mount Gilead EVS, spent a significant amount of time on day-to-day management of the Web filter trying to make it fit the district’s dynamic filtering needs.
Curtis needed a product which gave him more granular control, more flexibility, and reduced the requirement for day-to-day management while still giving students and staff the Internet access they needed. Having researched the range of solutions available in the market, in January 2012 Mount Gilead EVS chose the Bloxx 1250W Web Filter as the product which best met their needs.
Keeping students safe online while allowing them access to the wealth of learning resources the Internet can offer was both Curtis’s main priority and a huge challenge, but the Bloxx Web Filter has easily addressed this. Curtis comments: “tying the filtering policies to the Organizational Unit means I am 100% confident that students are filtered appropriately.”
In addition, the Bloxx Web Filter’s easy-to-use reporting functionality provides Curtis and his Mount Gilead EVS colleagues with quick and accurate information on Internet usage and requests for inappropriate Web pages from staff and students. Curtis explains: “I have to deal with “naughty” students every now and then and this allows me to point the activity directly back to, at the very least, a login. This makes the subsequent control measures much easier to justify if a question should arise.”
Simplifying administration processes and reducing the percentage of time spent managing the Web filtering solution was also important for Curtis, and again, the Bloxx solution has delivered: “I would say it has increased staff productivity and it’s definitely saved me time because it simply requires far, far less management.”
He continues, “I was hoping to gain a more granular control of my access through LDAP integration. This has absolutely been achieved through using the Bloxx Web Filter. Previously to allow staff members a different policy set I had to create a DHCP reservation for them and then manually assign that IP address the separate filtering policy. Now, because the Bloxx solution allows me to assign access permissions on the basis of Organizational Unit, the process is much simpler, requires much less management and is far easier to make changes to if required.”
Curtis has also been very impressed with Bloxx’s installation and support teams: “Not only did the product deliver in terms of me gaining all the control over my content I was hoping to, the installation process was painless because the Bloxx solution integrated easily with our existing Active Directory environment.”
And on the rare occasions Curtis has encountered an issue, support and problem resolution was only a phone call away: “Aside from the assigned support staff being on the line when I call, one of the team always calls me back and makes themselves available for as long as I need them.”
Curtis concludes, “How would I sum up my satisfaction with the Bloxx Web Filter? Quite simply, it’s a million times better than my previous solution.”