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Frontera School Content Filter Solution—Key Buying Questions

pdfFrontera Key Buying Questions(165KB)

To help you make the right purchasing decision for your school or district, please read the web content filtering questions and answers below.

QuestionAnswer

Is Frontera an appliance?

The traditional model includes a web filter appliance (a single-purpose server), and it is also delivered as a virtual appliance, our software installed on a virtualization platform such as VMWare®, Hyper-V®, etc.

Is Frontera built for schools?

Yes. Frontera was developed specifically for education. It supports learning by balancing the needs of both the IT staff and educators. It blocks inappropriate content and empowers educators to easily select web resources appropriate for their lessons.

Does your software integrate with our Active Directory® (or other Directory Services) server?  If so, how does that work? Do I need to import every user into your system? Yes. The Frontera school web filter software integrates with Active Directory, Open Directory, and eDirectory. Login and logout scripts are provided which allow Frontera to communicate with your LDAP server to ensure that your users get the right permissions to access the Internet. And, No, you do not have to import all that data into Frontera.
If I’m not using Active Directory, or some of my students don’t have their own network login, how can I set the system to deliver different levels of filtering defined by users or groups? You have a couple of options. If you have VLANS or IP ranges already set up, you can set a profile to those. You can also identify individual workstations and set filtering profiles by IP address or groups of IP addresses. If a user does not authenticate, or a workstation does not have a profile assigned to it by Group, Range, etc., then the user is assigned the Default Profile.
How often is your filter list updated? As part of our automated maintenance routine, our filter list is updated once a day in the middle of the night.
How does Frontera handle free proxy sites designed to help kids evade web filters? Because K-12 students were among the earliest adopters of free proxy sites to evade filtering systems, BASCOM pioneered the development of a dynamic proxy detection protocol, which goes beyond a site’s URL and dynamically examines the heuristics of web traffic, looking for patterns typical of free proxy sites. When free proxy site traffic is detected, it’s shutdown and a warning is displayed on the offending workstation.
I already have a firewall that I like.  Do I have to use Frontera’s firewall? No. But, many of our customers do. Sometimes our larger customers begin using Frontera for school web filtering, and when their existing firewall needs to be replaced, they’ll use Frontera’s firewall appliance; this saves them a lot of money on new hardware and maintenance.

Why does your firewall block outbound traffic?

Frontera blocks inbound and outbound traffic and locks down a network by selectively allowing authorized traffic in and out.

This is more secure than the standard approach, which is to let everything out by default, then attempting to dial back wide open access by selectively blocking certain access to the Internet.

Frontera’s firewall appliance is seamless by 1) making sure that it is configured properly during the initial installation to allow secure access for mission-critical services, 2) including several dozen pre-defined firewall rules for services that you use most, and 3) creating a simple interface for creating new firewall rules, and 4) by ensuring that our Technical Support team walks you through any firewall modifications that you don’t feel comfortable making on your own.

How easy is it to unblock or block an individual website?

Our simple user interfaces, combined with our fantastic Technical Support, make it easy for filtering novices to quickly make these changes, while providing granular control to more advanced users.

How does Frontera’s “Trust” feature work?

Frontera’s Trust feature is one of the main reasons that our URL filter list simply works better than others.  First, we start with the ability to categorize websites into more than one category. For example, a site may be categorized under Games, but it may also fall under Education, because the games on the site have educational value. With regular filters, schools simply block Games and that’s the end of it.  With Frontera’s Trust, you can Block Games, but Trust Education, and the sites that contain educational games will be accessible to your users, but the remaining games will not. 

What’s SafeSearch and why do I need it in addition to a school web filter?

Google®, Bing®, Yahoo! and Ask.com each have a feature which filters search results before they are returned to your users to reduce the instances when an innocent search yields inappropriate results.  For convenience, we refer to these collectively as SafeSearch, which is Google’s name for it.  This feature can usually be disabled in the user’s browser; Frontera can enforce SafeSearch so the user cannot turn it off.

Does Frontera include anti-virus? Frontera doesn’t include anti-virus in the traditional sense, and BASCOM recommends that you subscribe to a separate AV service. However, Frontera’s filter includes an entire section of Malicious Sites, such as Phishing, Hacking, Virus, and other undesirables. Frontera can stop your users from getting to malicious sites before they have a chance to do damage.

Is BASCOM’s school mobile filtering solution included in Frontera or do I purchase each separately?

BASCOM's Anywhere Filter is a component of Frontera, so there's no need to purchase it separately. Anywhere Filter provides mobile filtering for:

  • Windows®
  • OS X®
  • iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® devices using Anywhere Filter browser app. Global Proxy Support is also available for iOS devices. This enables the standard Safari® browser to be used.
  • Chromebook notebooks and Chromebox devices using our Anywhere Filter Cloud deployment.

Can I customize the “Blocked!” screen?

Yes. You have several options for customizing the page your users get when they try to access a website that’s blocked.  You can include a custom message, contact information, or a password over-ride.  You can even have it point to your own webpage.
How can I set filtering for BYOD and other “guests” on my network? There are a couple of options for setting up filtered access for your BYOD program and guests on your network. These include a built-in Acceptable Use Policy page, with terms that users must agree to before being permitted to get online, as well as the option of using our appliance’s third network interface to physically separate your wireless access from the rest of your network.

Does Frontera provide YouTube Filtering? (YouTube does not currently support the use of YouTube for Schools on iOS devices.)

Yes. Frontera supports YouTube for Schools. In addition to the YouTube EDU videos (found on youtube.com/education), teachers and administrators can add their own playlists of videos. Students are focused on the YouTube EDU videos plus any videos added by your school. All comments and suggested videos are removed and searching is limited to the YouTube EDU videos.

Is there telephone support for Frontera?

Yes.Telephone support is available 8am - 6 pm, Monday-Friday, ET (to 7 pm by scheduling a call beforehand). You will never have to step through an automated phone system to troubleshoot a problem. Instead, you will speak directly to a Technical Support Representative who has an extensive background in networking and enterprise-level filtering.

Is Frontera CIPA-compliant?

Yes. Frontera is CIPA-compliant and enforces your Acceptable Use Policy so that regardless of the network a mobile user is on, your Internet filtering settings are implemented.

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Copyright © 2015 BASCOM Global Internet Services, Inc. BASCOM, BASCOM Global Internet Services, Inc., Anywhere Filter, Anywhere Filter Cloud, Frontera, Patronus, and My Communitas are trademarks or registered trademarks of BASCOM Global Internet Services, Inc. All other products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Certain uses protected under U.S. Pat. No. 5,987,606. All rights reserved.