Smartphones and tablets have yielded numerous great benefits to businesses and organizations, yet with new technology, challenges often arise to ensure it complies with existing regulations and rules.
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is one of these regulations that customers have sought our advice on especially as it relates to mobile. As a bit of background, CIPA mandates that the internet be filtered of harmful content and pornography for all devices that are purchased or subsidized with federal funding – often known as E-Rate discounts. Check out Wikipedia for a more in depth description.
While this is generally an easy problem to solve for devices that stay on premise at a school, library, or other organization, it becomes extremely challenging once a device is taken off the controlled premise to an unknown and unprotected internet (eg a student’s home WiFi, Starbuck’s hotspot, etc). For a school, their options are 1) not allow devices to be taken off campus (off network) or 2) somehow pipe all of the traffic back through school firewalls.
Option 1 is probably what most organizations do to comply since it’s an easy fix. Unfortunately, this means that learning, work, or any other activity with that device can only happen on premise which eliminates some of the inherent benefits of a mobile device.
Option 2 is viable but often more technically challenging. These back-haul methods can take time to set up, are difficult to maintain, and challenging to scale depending on the amount of traffic. As some organizations get away from owning their own hardware, this might not even be an option for the long term.
Through Clutch Mobile’s NetGuard we can offer an Option 3 which we have already deployed with several schools. NetGuard can apply internet filtering, network controls, and web security to any mobile device regardless of the network. The security and controls are all cloud based meaning an organization doesn’t need to deploy any new hardware either. Simply register for an account, set your policies, and provision your mobile devices.
And that’s all there is to it for an organization to gain control of its mobile devices regardless of location and adhere to regulations like CIPA.
For anyone that has questions or concerns about CIPA and how it might affect their organization’s use of mobile devices, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll be happy to lend our expertise.