Google Chromebooks are ideal for K-12 educators who seek to provide richer, more differentiated educational experiences to their students, and their substantial built-in security provides peace of mind regarding certain types of cyber threats.
Many schools use a secure web gateway appliance and a firewall for network security. Depending on the solutions, this is effective—but only for devices connected to the school network.
Unfortunately, one fast-growing security gap has largely been neglected. When students take school-owned Chromebooks off-campus and connect to the internet, they are exposed to risk. And when they are exposed to risk, so are schools, reputations, and careers.
If your school isn’t using a solution that protects Chromebooks whenever and wherever they connect to the internet, you are putting CIPA compliance at risk. You are leaving students unnecessarily exposed to cyberbullying. And you are leaving your network exposed to advanced cyber threats.
The basic requirement of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is to monitor minors’ online content and behavior, and protect them from online dangers and inappropriate or illegal content. If you are only monitoring and protecting students during part of the time that they are using your Chromebooks—only when they are at school, but not when they go home or to the coffee shop—then you may not be in compliance with CIPA. If not, a single incident could lead to a great deal of cost and trouble.
Cyberbullying takes many forms and uses many platforms and media, but it continues to increase, and it continues to cause devastating psychological damage among young people— even leading to suicide on occasion.
Monitoring and controlling social media traffic while students are on your network is a good start, but it’s not enough. You must be able to protect students from this very serious threat whenever and wherever they use the devices you’ve issued to them.
When going online through a public Wi-Fi network, students can all too easily access malicious websites or open phishing emails that can deliver malware. The next day, at school, your students can be unwitting vectors of an attack that ends up affecting your entire network, or endangering critical or confidential data.
Comprehensive Web Security
A web security solution that extends identical policies and protections across both on-network and off-network devices, including Chromebooks, is the best way to meet CIPA requirements, and to ensure that your community’s children are protected whenever they use school-issued devices.
One that lets you block access to social-media sites whenever and wherever school-issued Chromebooks are connected to the internet can make a real difference in reducing cyberbullying.
Closing the gap that allows off-campus Chromebooks to become infection vectors for your entire network is another key benefit of extending web security beyond the network boundary.
Solving the Puzzle
The dangers enumerated above are well understood. Remote filtering and off-network policy enforcement have long been recognized as important security capabilities in the age of mobile computing.
However, the specific design of the Chromebook—simple, robust, entirely browser-based, and without a real operating system—has until now made it difficult to enforce security policies off-network.
Barracuda’s Chromebook Security Extension provides a strong solution to this problem by enforcing policies via a Chrome browser plugin. This allows Barracuda Web Security Gateway Policies to be enforced on Chromebooks, whether they are on or off of your network.
Barracuda has a long history of providing security solutions that are ideal for K-12 environments—where the stakes are high, budgets are tight, and administrative resources are scarce. The innovative technology that lets you protect Chromebooks both on and off the network is only the latest example of our dedication to helping you keep your community’s children safe.
For more information, white papers, and case studies, please visit www.barracuda.com/edu