20,000 K-12 Schools Adopt Free Web Security Tool

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Schools across the United States have been turning in increasing numbers to free and open source solutions, including solutions in the category of Web security. According to DNS provider OpenDNS, more than 20,000 schools and districts so far have adopted its free Internet security service designed for filtering Internet content for students and staff.

The 20,000 figure reported today is twice the reported figure from January 2008. OpenDNS launched in 2006, and it's been adopted by schools largely for its various Web security features to help meet CIPA requirements without capital outlay or maintenance.

One such user is Dowagiac Union Schools in Michigan. Randy Gross, the district's director of technology, said, "Schools in general are hard pressed for funding, and OpenDNS allowed us to save a significant amount of money, while eliminating problems like proxies on our network. OpenDNS is a fantastic service that is perfect for school districts. It comes as no surprise that 20,000 U.S. schools and school districts have make the switch to the service for Web filtering and security."

Another is Madison County Schools in Mississippi. Gavin Guynes, MCSD's director of technology, said, "OpenDNS provides an invaluable service that assists schools regarding CIPA compliance and safe Internet surfing. It cuts down on SSL proxy site utilization. While over 20,000 schools are using the service now, I see no reason why all school districts should not use the service."

Some of these security features include:

  • Protection from phishing sites using PhishTank.com;
  • Adult site blocking;
  • Domain blocking;
  • Web proxy blocking to prevent students from bypassing site filters; and
  • Domain whitelisting for preventing specific sites from being blocked.

The company told us that it's blocked more than 250 million phishing scams for schools to date ad has provided "100 percent uptime to its 20,000 school and school district users." Further information can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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