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News

Cloud Computing Solution Protects School Pupils Using iPads

Iomart Hosting : 15 June, 2011  (New Product)
The UK Child Internet Safety Summit sees new solution from Westcoastcloud which provides e-security for Apple mobile users in schools
Children using iPads at school can be better protected online after UK cloud computing company Westcoastcloud adapted its award-winning esecurity product to work on the Apple tablet.

 

Westcoastcloud has developed its cloud based security service Netintelligence to give education officials the ability to block harmful content and control what websites pupils are able to access on iPads issued by their school.

 

Bill Strain, director of Westcoastcloud, said: “For several years our child safety software has been used to protect children from harmful and inappropriate content when using standard laptops and desktop PCs in schools. With a growing number of schools now issuing iPads to their pupils, we realised there was a need for education authorities to be able to filter and block content centrally on these devices as well.”

 

The new Netintelligence safety product for iPads was unveiled by Westcoastcloud on the day the UK Council for Child Internet Safety holds its second annual summit in London. The summit comes a week after the Government published a review by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union, on the sexualisation and commercialisation of children. Entitled ‘Children 2.0 – Safe, Sociable, Connected!’ the summit is being held to discuss ground-breaking new practice and technologies to protect children online and is being addressed by Children and Families Minister Tim Loughton and psychologist and broadcaster Professor Tanya Byron.

 

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said: “New technology has an amazing ability to educate and entertain, but it also has the ability to expose children to danger. Industry and retailers have a part to play in helping to keep children safe online. 

 

“That is why I welcome Reg Bailey’s recommendations, to make it easier for parents to block adult material on the internet, in his review into the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood. This review is a real opportunity for the IT industry to act decisively to develop effective parental controls, so that they are simple enough for the average busy parent to use.

 

“Through UKCCIS industry have already started to act. I commend the responsible actions of all UKCCIS members to promote online safety and I look forward to continuing to work with industry to support parents and protect children.”

 

Westcoastcloud’s Bill Strain, who is also speaking at the conference, added: “Children’s safety online is a critical issue for everyone involved in education and also for us as leaders in this field within the IT industry. The growing use of tablets in schools means authorities are once again being challenged by technology to find new ways of preventing pupils gaining access to inappropriate material over the internet. We have worked with a number of local councils and education authorities to help protect children online through their laptops and desktops and we hope that we can now help them manage the new security issues raised by the introduction of iPads.”

 

Westcoastcloud’s new Netintelligence solution will give education officials the ability to manage user activity on all internet-connected iPads, laptops and desktops used in a school through one central control panel. Easy to install and use, it collects URLs and categorises them according to the harmful or inappropriate nature of their content. This then allows a school or education authority to set up filtering and blocking policies to control which websites can be accessed through the iPad. If a pupil tries to access a website that is blocked a message will appear on the screen of the tablet saying that the website is blocked and that they should speak to their Netintelligence operator within the school.

 

The Netintelligence product for iPads will also be available for iPhones. It works with iOS, Apples’ mobile operating system. It is nearing the end of its development stage and is due to be submitted to Apple for approval this summer.

 

Earlier this year Children and Families Minister Tim Loughton presented Netintelligence with the UK’s first Kitemark certificate for Child Safety Online (PAS 74:2008 Internet Safety). The Kitemark, awarded by the British Standards Institution (BSI), aims to give parents and carers confidence in the internet filtering products available to help them limit the amount of harmful content seen by their children.

 

Last year Netintelligence was named Security Project of the Year at the inaugural UK Computing Security Awards for its role in protecting the 270,000 laptops issued to low income families under the Government’s Home Access Scheme.

 

Westcoastcloud is part of AIM-listed iomart Group plc, one of the UK’s leading managed hosting and
cloud computing companies, which recently announced a rise in pre-tax profits of 618% to £25.3m.
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