Michigan school district washes the Web

Michigan's Howell Public School District has adopted a product that can scrub the Web of its unsavory parts, while allowing the educational wealth of the Web to get through to its 8,500 students.

The school district is using Secure Computing's Webwasher, a Web gateway appliance that will enable the district to filter Web site access, the company said today.

Webwasher's filtering mechanism lets the school district provide safe surfing, preserving the Internet as a valuable educational resource, company officials said. The product also scans all inbound and outbound traffic for viruses and offensive content.

Before adopting Webwasher, the school district used separate filtering, firewall and antivirus products, but found them lacking.

Students, usually more computer-savvy than their parents or teachers, kept finding ways around the other security products and poking holes in the firewall. Webwasher put a stop to this by blocking remote proxy access and preventing students from using anonymizers ' Internet services that make Web browsing anonymous.

Webwasher also helped the district run investigative reports on specific users. It shaved hours off the administrative process each week, said Paul Pominville, technology director at the school district. 'I also no longer waste time doing things like tracking proxy servers being used by students. It takes the headache out of administration and management.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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