MyNotes Don't Be the Fun Police - Reviewing an M86 WhitePaper

Over the last few months, I've started to take a keener interest in white papers produced by vendors. I'm not sure why that's the case, but one can learn something from reading anything, even if it only provides insight into the bias of the article's author or one's own lack of imagination for failing to find better sources! (smile)

That aside, I'm now working my way through M86--which provides content filtering solutions--white paper on Social Media and Web 2.0 in K-12 and I was surprised to stumble across these tidbits.

My Notes:
  1. In the past, social networking was perceived as a means to connect with others in a merely social context and was used primarily to share information on the Internet among a specific social group. But that’s no longer the case. For the younger generation, social networking and associated technologies are an everyday part of life, and educators must engage students in a way that takes this into account. 
  2. Traditionally, many IT administrators chose to block all social networking sites indiscriminately, but this has proven ineffective, and in any cases, counterproductive for educators
  3. 59% of online students say they talk about education related topics, including college or college planning; learning outside of school; news; careers or jobs; politics, ideas, religion or morals; and school work.
  4. 50% of online students say they talk specifically about school work.
  5. Ensure you comply with regulations by setting controls that address age, content type and other factors that are required by law without completely blocking site use for appropriate ages and educational purposes.  It is important for IT security administrators to be seen as safe enablers of the use of these new technologies rather than the ”fun police”, who block access to anything remotely exciting.
  6. The M86 Secure Web Gateway solves the Google search-over-SSL problem. Instead of blocking all SSL traffic, which also means blocking useful tools such as Google Mail and Google Apps, the M86 SWG allows IT managers to filter Google SSL search and provides granular control of all SSL traffic. This enables users to access Web tools (like Google Mail and Apps) but prevents employees from accessing Google SSL search, ensuring compliance with AUPs without limiting productivity.
  7. VuSafe enables educators to easily manage and share approved video content through an M86-hosted Web portal, preventing students from viewing streaming media, links and peripheral content (such as advertising) on sites such as YouTube.com.  A teacher can search for interesting video content and then approve its use for students while defining settings for appropriate age, subject, etc.
Some of the neat features of any filtering solution is that it provides differentiated controls, such as those outlined by M86 below as one of their solutions...isn't it time schools took advantage of these types of controls rather than employ simple on/off switches with overrides?

  • Access to non-web-based applications such as instant messaging, peer-to-peer networks, anonymous proxies, remote desktop applications and games Lockout functionalities that can adjust the end-user’s policy based upon repeated violations of the AUP 
  • Embedded URL protection which ensures that if a URL which leads to inappropriate material is embedded within another URL, the content is still restricted.



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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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