You may well already have a proxy server or firewall installed within your establishment. Great. What does it do? Stop pupils getting onto naughty sites? Prevent hackers getting in from outside?
Can it allow you to schedule classes to be selectively restricted to only get onto Science websites period 4 every Thursday when you take your class to the ICT suite without any logins or involvement from end-users? The S4 can, amongst other things:
- Automatically authenticate users when requesting Internet access for security and logging. This can be restricted so that only certain users are permitted on the Internet, or allow access only during certain times of the day. Take an entire class off the Internet immeadiately, or, go on, be nice, and let them get onto some games for the last 5 minutes of the lesson
- Regularly accessed pages will be stored locally to improve performance and reduced the amount of Internet traffic, especially useful on ISDN dial-up lines. A feature currently under development is for if you want to get really flash, tell the S4 what site you to access and at what time, and it will make sure it’s there for you – regardless of whether your Internet connection dies when you have 30 kids trying to stream video from Battle of the Somme. Nice when that happens, isn’t it?
- Content filtering to review each web site request to validate itâ��s contents as well as completely blocking entire web sites or url’s, depending on how mean you’re feeling. If you want to stop kids downloading certain file extensions (.mp3, .wma, .zip, anyone?) click a button and it’s done
- Intrusion detection system is planned and already implemented includes a firewall that protects your network from intruders attempting to gain access, whilst also restricting access from users within your network attempting to access services such as FTP servers (not that anyone would try it…). Oh, the S4 will also do virus scanning of all documents + pages across the Internet, as well as disabling many pop-up’s and banners (they keep finding ways around, but we’ll keep updating it – let’s be honest about this)
All of this from a simple, easy to use web-based interface, with fully-modular access, allowing network managers and technicians to get in and control things directly; allowing the SMT to look at pretty stats and graphs; and allowing teachers to control what kids can + can’t do on the Internet before even getting to the classroom leaving them to, well, teach.
Benefits of the S4
The S4 is not a complete security solution, there’s no such thing. The S4 is not a magic box that will handle everything for you, although such a thing would be nice if one existed. The S4 is not going to stop every piece of questionable data on the Internet, pop-up advertisement, or game; no system can.
What it will do is:
- provide you with a firm foundation for controlling the Internet in your establishment, allowing members of staff to accurately control and monitor what pupils can and can’t do
- remove a lot of the frustrations teachers encounter when pupils make use of ICT facilities such as intermitent connection, slow streaming of multimedia, objectionable pop-up’s and advertisements, or quite simply, kids messing around on games
- removes (one of) the burdens from network managers that usually get an ear-full about kids playing games, downloading music, and doing their best to avoid any form of remotely educational browsing
- let senior management sleep (slightly) easier by reducing possible problems arising through mis-use of the Internet or spread of virus’ / spyware + adware, meaning expensive and highly-utilised ICT facilities have maximum availability and reliability