What are School Manager's system requirements?
You need a working internet connection at school which the School Manager appliance will detect once it is switched on. School Manager is cloud-based, so all configurations will be done via the web interface and synchronized with the appliance.
Users’ devices must meet the following system requirements to install Connect:
Does School Manager’s cyber safety protection work after school hours, when students hotspot or when they connect to home wi-fi?
School Manager’s 24/7 Filtering (24/7) mode can allow you to enforce your school or district’s content filtering policies and policies on school-owned devices even when those devices aren’t at school, or if the user is hot-spotting from their phone or other devices.
What are the main sections or pages of School Manager?
School Manager’s main sections are:
Statistics: This section provides a snapshot of the top apps and websites, blocked content, red flags, and real-time connections in the school network.
Cyber Safety: This section is where reports are generated on red flags, searches, videos, and blocked access.
Filtering: This section allows School Manager administrators to create and organize filtering policies. It also provides a handy tool that allows administrators to check for a website or application’s category or signature, which helps them decide if they should block or allow certain sites, apps, traffic, or search expressions.
Edge Networking: This section allows IT administrators to configure firewall, WAN, MDNS Bridge, VPNs, and quality of service within the school network.
Configuration: Available only to Global and IT administrators, this section is where all “behind the scenes” configurations are set up. Contact Linewize Support for help.
Debugging: This section provides configuration features for School Manager devices, including updates and permissions. More importantly, this section helps administrators and Linewize Support diagnose issues in School Manager.
Does Linewize provide training to school IT administrators?
Linewize will provide training as part of its deployment process. There will be a transition period during which you will receive technical training from the Linewize Service Deployment Engineers (SDE). Our Success Team will also provide more in-depth training with a focus on empowerment and how you can use the appliance to achieve certain goals.
In addition to training, we also provide guidance to certain staff on the core functions of School Manager, and how they can better understand student activities in order to provide intervention for those who have been flagged for consistent concerning behavior.
While we endeavor to ensure IT administrators and relevant staff are ready to work with School Manager on their own, we will check in periodically or provide success sessions as needed.
Where does School Manager store my school’s data?
Statistical data are pushed to the cloud platform via SSL with TLS. School Manager does not store data in the appliance.
How much data does School Manager keep?
School Manager retains up to three (3) months’ worth of historical data. However, all statistical reports are captured in real-time with 5-15 minutes of delay.
What reports are included on the Statistics page?
When you log on to your School Manager device, the Overview page provides a snapshot of the top activities on the school network based on the selected time period. These include:
Application and website usage and trends
What users are looking at and who’s generating the most traffic
Which groups of users are generating the most traffic
Traffic by host, destination IP, and destination port
Current network status, including active connections and network alerts
To better understand the statistical data that School Manager generates, try to expand the summaries or data presented on the page by selecting Select All. This will display the reports on top apps and websites, blocked content, and red flags. The Cyber Safety section page provides more in-depth information to better help you understand the reports captured in the Statistics page.
What are signatures and how do they work?
Signatures are patterns or fingerprints that School Manager uses to identify websites, services, or applications for reporting and filtering. For example, Google is a signature which applies to all Google products, such as Google Search, Docs, and Drive, among others.
There are three (3) types of signature:
|Website||A website signature is a web domain or subdomain.|
|Group||Group signatures are collections of all the things required for one specific signature to be blocked or unblocked.|
|Application||A collection of all the websites, connections and ports needed to allow an application or service to connect to internet services on different types of devices.|
Is there a default set of categories/signatures that are filtered by School Manager or do I have to configure filtering policies?
We will work with your school in setting up filtering categories and signatures, and take you through a list of standard duty of care set of filtering policies. However, we still recommend that you create filtering policies that meet your school’s requirements and are appropriate for your users.
Can I create signatures that are specific to my school or school district?
You can contact Linewize Support with the details of the signature that you want created, and we’ll review your request. However, we don’t guarantee that the requested signature will be created.
How can I change the category of a site or signature?
If you think a site or signature is in the wrong category, you can contact Linewize Support and provide the details of the site or signature. Note, however, that Linewize does not guarantee that the site/signature’s category will change on review.
How are Filtering Policies for websites and searches created?
You can create filtering policies by going to Filtering > Content Filtering, and then selecting Create Policy. You might also want to use the Test Policy Tool to see if another policy already filters a website or application.
Can I block certain keywords within a platform instead of blocking the whole site?
Yes, you can block certain keywords searches. First, you must create a keyword pool by going to Configuration > Objects > Pools, and then select Add Pool.
Open the new keyword pool, and then add all the search keywords that you want to block. Next, create a new policy in Filtering > Content Filtering. In the Editing Policy form for the new content filtering, select Searches for Keyword Pool on the Type dropdown.
Select Save and make sure that the policy is enabled.
Can I give guests temporary access to users in the school network?
Guests can be added individually or in batches, and given temporary access on the network via the Guests configuration page. Temporary access can be set to expire after the guest’s first login or after their account is created.
Can I give users access on the school network without having to log in?
You can create a temporary session for existing users in School Manager. This allows them to authenticate directly to School Manager (that is, the school network) instead of via other means (example, Captive Portal, Authentication Agent, Google Integration, etc.). This is particularly useful if they are using new laptops, tablets, or phones.
To give temporary access to a user, go to Configuration > Users and Groups > Users.
Can I give a user temporary unfiltered access on the school network?
Yes, you can give a user temporary unfiltered access by setting up a Filtering policy that allows all traffic for them.
Go to Filtering > Create Policy, and then select All Traffic from the Type dropdown list.
Select the user (group) from the Criteria dropdown list, and then Accept on the Action list.
Place this filtering policy at the top of the Content Filtering list, and toggle Enable. This filtering policy will be in effect until Enable is toggled off.
What are red flags and how do they work?
Red Flags are tags or badges that School Manager uses to indicate a user’s possible risky behavior. Red flags are triggered when a user performs any of the following actions:
Uses keywords or phrases identified as risky (for example, searching for violent materials)
Attempts to access protected content (for example, trying to access porn sites)
Opens applications filtered by School Manager, such as VPN app to bypass online security or filtering policy.
How can I configure Content Filtering policies?
Content Filtering policies are very customizable and allow you to have a very fine level of control over what content and applications are allowed or blocked at your school. Our content filtering guide explains the different options for filtering and how they can be used to create policies that meet your school’s needs.
What are the common ways that students try to avoid filtering?
Using VPNs and hot-spotting are among the most common ways that students will try to avoid School Manager’s filtering policies. To ensure users comply with cyber safety measures, you can detect and block VPN activities within the network, as well as configure Spotshield to prevent hot-spotting.
What is the difference between Content Filtering and Firewall?
Content Filtering creates filtering policies based on the categories and/or signatures of websites, applications, and search expressions.
Firewall creates policies based on network traffic from certain sources, such as IP address, country, users, and device type to certain destinations (IP address, network, MAC address, users, groups, etc.).
What happens if a student hotspots on another device to bypass filtering? Can School Manager prevent hot-spotting?
School Manager includes tools that can be used to prevent or manage hotspotting. As the options available differ based on your deployment please reach out to Linewize Support for assistance with filtering hotspotted traffic.
How do you set up a firewall in School Manager?
You can set up a firewall (Edge Networking) in School Manager to manage incoming and outgoing traffic based on predefined policies. Unless a firewall is configured in School Manager, all traffic is allowed within the school network. Moreover, newly created firewall policies will allow all traffic unless configured.
You can configure as many policies as required by your school. However, note that some policies take priority over others. Contact Linewize Support for help or more information.
Can I set up VPN for certain users or groups?
You can set up VPN access for specific users. This is configured on Edge Networking > Client VPN and Eedge Networking > Gateway VPN. Contact Linewize Support for help or more information.
Can I limit connection rates for users or groups?
You can create a rate limiting policy in Edge Networking > QOS > Rate Limiting. This will allow you to manage the quality of a user or a group’s connection, and thus help prioritize traffic for certain connections, applications and traffic when network capacity is limited. Contact Linewize Support for help or more information.
How can I confirm that the user’s device is connected through School Manager?
Using the device, go to http://whoami.linewize.net (note http, not https). The URL should return a string which details your School Manager physical appliance and the device details.
How can I confirm that the user’s device has the Linewize certificate?
- Press CTRL + R on your keyboard.
- Run certmgr.msc.
- Go to the Certifications Authorities folder > Certificates and locate the certificate file.
- Go to Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access.
- Open the Certificates tab. All certificates are saved in this folder.
- Locate or enter the certificate’s name in the Search bar to find the Linewize certificate.
ALTERNATIVE: Select System Roots under System Keychains on the left navigation bar.
- Double-click the Linewize certificate to display more information.
Users and Authentication
What authentication methods can School Manager use?
School Manager uses local and third-party authentication methods, including SIS (Wonde, Oneroster, ClassLink), Captive Portal, Google, Azure AD, and LDAP.
Can I manually add users in School Manager?
You can manually add individual users in Configuration > Users and Groups > Users. However, we recommend bulk adding users through a SIS sync or other compatible third-party authentication.
How can I configure the Captive Portal?
School Manager allows you to create a Captive Portal that users must interact with before they can access your school's network. Using a Captive Portal will stop people from connecting to your school’s network or internet connection unless they can show that they’re actually staff or students. You may also use a Captive Portal to make sure that guests and visitors at your campus agree to the terms and conditions of using a guest internet service before giving them access to it.
How can I configure the Block page?
You can create a customized Block page that users on your school network will see when they try to access a restricted page in Configurations > Block Page.
Can I have multiple School Manager devices in my school, with one of them used as a backup in case an issue occurs with the primary device?
If you have multiple School Manager appliances in your school, you can configure them to work in High Availability mode where one device is a primary and the other is secondary. If the primary device fails, then the secondary device will take over to restore internet connectivity at school.
Both devices must have the same authentication and filtering configurations.
Can I configure groups using third-party authentication?
You can configure groups through your school’s authentication platform or SIS.
Does School Manager retain group settings and data after synchronizing?
Group configurations that you have created through your school’s authentication platform will be imported to School Manager after running data synchronizations. While you can change a group’s membership manually in School Manager, it is possible to lose the changes you’ve made from within School Manager after syncing data.
We recommend that you complete all group configurations in the (external) authentication service. All groups that have been configured in the service will be imported to School Manager upon syncing.
How will I know if a group has been set up manually or through third-party authentication?
Groups that are managed on third-party authentication services have the lock icon on the group’s Manage Group screen. Groups that have been created locally do not have the padlock icon.
Moreover, the Provider field indicates “local” while the Provider DN is left blank and locked. On the Groups page, the DN column is left blank for locally created groups, while authenticated groups have their platforms indicated on the DN column.
How can I ensure my School Manager device is updated?
School Manager can be set up to automatically update your school’s device(s) outside of school hours. This is usually configured by a Linewize Service Delivery Engineer for your school during the Deployment.
You can also manually update your School Manager device by going to Debugging > Device Updates.
How can I configure user permissions?
Administrator, Reporting, Pastoral Care, Configuration, and other permissions are configured in Debugging > Permissions.
Refer to Permissions in School Manager for the steps on how to add permissions and which School Manager features each permission can access or manage.
I have more questions about School Manager. Who can I contact for more information?
In School Manager, select Support at the top of the page. The Support menu contains the list of contact numbers and email addresses of our support teams, plus a link to the Linewize Help site and the Linewize status.