School and student safety
Eight reasons Lenovo NetFilter is the best web filter for schools
April 11, 2023
Like every industry, the education space is crowded with cybersecurity vendors. It can be challenging to sort through the dense field of hardware and software solutions, each designed to fulfill a slightly different need.
At LanSchool, we know how difficult choosing a school web filter can be. We are fortunate to be part of the Lenovo Education ecosystem along with an award-winning, school filtering software, Lenovo NetFilter.
Here are eight reasons Lenovo NetFilter is a best-in-class web filtering software for schools:
1. It leverages AI to catch new and unknown threats.
Lenovo NetFilter’s artificial intelligence scans for suspicious content in 40 languages across 45 categories, including malicious domains, phishing, reputation indicators, counterterrorism, child pornography, and more.
But far from relying on old threat data like a firewall would, Lenovo NetFilter uses a combination of up-to-date, third-party threat feeds and machine learning to create algorithms that are excellent at identifying malicious web traffic in real time. That means that even if a traffic source hasn’t been identified as threatening by other teams, Lenovo NetFilter can catch it and eliminate it before it can do any harm.
Of course, Lenovo NetFilter also wants to ensure its algorithms don’t become so strict that they block the good traffic with the bad, so the company uses human verification to examine flagged issues and continually improve the company’s algorithms.
Some schools also use it to block sites that consume high quantities of school network bandwidth, such as streaming platforms. It can even block students from using common workarounds, such as virtual private networks (VPN) and proxy software.
2. It enables IT to set flexible policies.
Sometimes schools want to block certain websites — such as YouTube — for most classes but enable access for others. Lenovo NetFilter enables teams to set web access policies based on granular or general attributes, including username, groups, time, day, and more.
IT can implement user-based policies to personalize access for individual users or groups. For example, teams may choose to set time and calendar-based rights to grant web access during certain days or hours, reducing distractions and bandwidth usage during school hours.
3. It can detect and flag concerning student behavior.
To keep students safer online, schools have to protect them not only from external cyber threats, but internal digital dangers. The premium version of the software, Lenovo NetFilter+, analyzes students’ online behavior and conversations to flag concerning keywords and interactions. This helps educators, administrators, and parents spot incidents of cyberbullying as well as ideation related to suicide, violence, and self-harm.
The sooner adults are informed of these issues, the sooner they can intervene with the appropriate support channels.
4. It provides easy compliance.
Lenovo NetFilter is compliant with data privacy and other regulations required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Internet Watch Foundation, Friendly Wi-Fi, and others.
This makes it easier for IT teams to not only keep students and their data safe, but to document and prove they are doing so for regulators.
5. It offers better analytics and functionality than free filters.
Free web filters are better than nothing, but they don’t typically come with analytics or management consoles. That means schools have no visibility into the threats that are being blocked.
Free filters also don’t typically function outside the school network, making them unusable for distance learning. They also don’t cover as many threat categories or protect against new and unknown (“zero-day”) threats the way Lenovo NetFilter does.
Lenovo NetFilter’s web-based dashboard makes it easy for administrators to see a global view of all sites and analytics – regardless of size, complexity, and location. With the reporting dashboard, administrators can evaluate and measure their traffic, including reports for queries per second, most active sites, threats seen, and top requests.
6. It works in mixed device environments.
Lenovo NetFilter works on Chrome, Mac, and Windows, so schools can leverage the software even in mixed device environments. That also means that as schools adopt new devices, they can continue to use Lenovo NetFilter, saving the overhead of having to research and train staff.
Moreover, Lenovo NetFilter enables school IT teams to be precise in setting what kinds of web pages are seen and who can see them based on class, grade level, and role. This gives IT teams the ability to consolidate down to one web filter.
7. It integrates with other common school applications.
Lenovo NetFilter makes implementation and usage easier by integrating with LDAP, Active Directory, eDirectory, Radius, Captive Portal, Transparent authentication options, Microsoft IIS, Authenticated Redirect Portal, Single Sign On (SSO) for Google, and Microsoft. That means schools do not have to change the technology they’re using in order to incorporate Lenovo NetFilter, saving time and money from day one.
8. It delivers all the benefits of the cloud, including support for distance learning.
It’s common for schools to have on-premise firewalls that are responsible for stopping malicious and suspicious web traffic before it enters the school network. But when students are learning from anywhere other than on campus, those firewalls won’t protect them.
Lenovo NetFilter is a cloud-based software that works not only on school campuses but also on any home-schooling device, ensuring web traffic is being filtered no matter where learning is happening. Moreover, as a software solution, it’s more cost effective to set up than a firewall, which requires physical installation since it can be installed remotely.
It’s also easier to maintain — Lenovo NetFilter continuously updates its algorithms based on new threat data and is manageable from a central dashboard.
Bundle LanSchool and Lenovo NetFilter and save
Lenovo NetFilter is one of the most powerful web filtering solutions on the market, and we’re delighted to offer it to new or renewing LanSchool customers at a special bundled price.
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