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Best Internet Filtering/Spam Protection?

By maniac4taz ·
I posted this under the Tech Q&A and it was also recommended that I post under Discussion - so I'm giving this a whirl - can you tell I'm new at this!!
I work for a K-8 School District. We are currently using Lightspeed Total Traffic Control for web filtering and spam blocking with very good results, however, they are changing their pricing to a "per seat" and are literally pushing themselves out the door due to budget constraints. We previously used Websense, but switched due to their pricing and the fact that their product was extremely limited in comparison to Lightspeed. My Supervisor wants me to shop around and to be honest, I have heard of other products, but none that seem to compare. I would like to hear what other organizations are using, pluses & minuses of the product, and any solid recommendations.

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Good luck in finding what you need.

by fungus-among-us In reply to Best Internet Filtering/S ...

I work a Govt. agency and had the same responsibility as you (as far as being charged with finding the appropriate filtering software). We have 17 PCs that are available to the public for use in helping them find jobs. Every filtering application I looked at used "blacklists" to deny access to websites (as well as applications). The problem I found, was there seemed to more "adult content" websites available online than there are people alive on the planet. To have to update the blacklist seemed like a never ending job (great for job security, but a royal pain in the keester). Our agency ended up using a program called B-Control, made by codeworks of Canada. What attracted me to this filter application over the rest was the fact that it used "Whitelists" instead of blacklists. A "whitelist" works opposite of blacklists... instead of storing a list of sites your users cannot have access to, a whitelist allows users to display the sites that are approved. How much easier that was for us than having to maintain an ever growing blacklist. The newest version of B-Control has added a blacklist capability as well, but we operate just fine by using the whitelist portion. Since we're only concerned about the publics' access to job postings that are local to this region, our lists are not that extensive. We can always add new URLs as needed and it's much easier to add a few sites than to block dozens more.

This may not be what you were looking for, but I thought I'd share, who knows maybe it will suit your needs.

Peace

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Thanks!

by maniac4taz In reply to Good luck in finding what ...

Thanks for sharing - I will definitely check into it. The most difficult challenge I have is circumventing the kids that keep circumventing the web filtering system. With all the Anonymous Proxy sites out there, it's virtually impossible. What I like most about Lightspeed is it's one product with multi-protection. Besides the Content filtering, spam blocking, and the monitoring/reporting features that tell me exactly who and when, plus what search requests they've made, it also monitors bandwidth and has added protection agains viruses, worms, and other types of attacks - not to mention the excellent tech support we receive! Gosh - I feel like a sales rep! I'm just trying to avoid multi-layering products to get the job done - there's already too much to manage without maintaining more layered products!! Thanks again for the info!

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Sonicwall Education Solutions

by jj2000 In reply to Best Internet Filtering/S ...

Hi there,
We are an engineering-focused group and offer best-of-breed solutions to our customers. We service a LOT of K-12 and Higher ed customers throughout the country and we strongly recommend Sonicwall's solutions.

In addition to having a software add-on to their firewalls, they also have their CSM line- Content Security Manager- which is a hardware-based solution that interfaces with AD for instant, granular control and reporting.

What I like most about Sonicwall is their attentiveness to K-12 needs. Their content filtering has many categories to differentiate between topics such as sex, sex ed, health, drugs, tobacco, etc. Most providers offer 12-20 standard categories while Sonicwall has around 60. While the software filtering is not licensed per client, the CSM units are, but we have always been successful getting the pricing to fit within our customers' budget.

The Sonicwall solutions also have other built-in security that sounds similar to what is offered in Lightspeed. If you're interested, I can get more details and comparison for you.

-jj
jj@cadinc.com

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Filter sollution

by sostermann In reply to Best Internet Filtering/S ...

THere is a hardware product called i-Boss that is made by Phantom Technologies. It simply goes between your modem and router and can be setup to block by catagory -- like, Adult, Gambling, etc..

You pay a small monthly or anual fee and it's database is constantly updated. I use it at home and can not belive how effective it is. Nothing has to be added or changed on the individual computers and it doesn't slow down Internet traffic at all. It has other neat/usefull features as well.

The URL is: http://www.iphantom.com/iBossProduct.html

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we use software solution

by david In reply to Filter sollution

I use NetDog Porn Filter, it's a software solution, I don't have to pay monthly, it's free upgrade, filter effectively, I think software solution is much easier to use

The URL is : http://www.netdogsoft.com

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iBoss works great. Awesome solution

by JohnK5 In reply to Filter sollution

We've installed the iBoss Pro at a number of sites. Works awesome. The price point is very good too. We've installed a variety of other filtering rackmounts as well. iBoss works just as well if not better.

I'm assuming the home models are similar. Well worth it.

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Not Gospel but worth a look

by Splunge In reply to Best Internet Filtering/S ...

I work for a gov't agency and have just been put in charge of finding/testing a product that kills spyware and monitors web usage/blocks objectionable websites. If you get a chance, you might want to look into SurfControl's Enterprise products. The Enterprise suite includes tools to stop, spyware, spam, and let you monitor surfing/block unsavory websites (and more). Not sure what your budget is but they seemed pretty reasonably priced to me. I have seen demos of the software and it is impressive. I have not had a chance to personally test it but that is on the docket for this week. Good luck in your search.

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