Houston Public Schools Selects OpenDNS Enterprise for “Hassle-Free” Web Filtering with No Appliance

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Minnesota school district deploys cloud-based OpenDNS Enterprise to meet CIPA compliance, proactively block malware and eliminate DNS outages.


Not only would I recommend using OpenDNS, it is incomprehensible to me that there are schools around not using it!

OpenDNS, the world's largest and fastest-growing provider of Internet security and DNS services that deliver a safer, faster and more intelligent Internet experience to everyone, today announced Houston Public Schools is using cloud-based OpenDNS Enterprise to meet CIPA compliance. Houston Public Schools, located outside of Rochester, Minnesota, chose OpenDNS Enterprise to protect its students and faculty members from inappropriate and malicious content, and join the 1 in 3 U.S. K-12 public schools using OpenDNS to keep kids safe online.

Prior to deploying OpenDNS Enterprise, Houston Public Schools Information Technology Director Scott Gottfried was exploring multiple open source options for malware protection and Web filtering, but found the investment of time and associated risk outweighed the benefits. An open source solution would have required Gottfried and his team to continuously update threat lists and purchase additional on-site hardware. After discovering OpenDNS while listening to the Security Now podcast from Twit.tv, he quickly realized that it could solve multiple problems for his district.

In addition to the need for CIPA-compliant Web filtering and protection against malicious sites, Houston Public Schools was experiencing slow and unreliable DNS resolution. Because DNS failure can appear to cause an Internet outage, the IT team would be overwhelmed by a flood of tickets from teachers and students that suddenly couldn’t access the Internet or use online learning tools when the school’s DNS would fail.

OpenDNS Enterprise immediately solved three problems for Houston Public Schools: First, cloud-based Web filtering eliminated the need for in-house hardware and associated time-intensive deployment and management. Second, OpenDNS Enterprise malware protection is updated automatically in real time, giving Houston Public Schools the most up-to-date threat protection without additional monitoring and management. Third, as the world’s largest provider of fast and reliable DNS, OpenDNS eliminated the DNS outages and slow-downs Houston Public Schools was experiencing.

Gottfried explains, “In addition to helping our school meet CIPA compliance to ensure we receive our E-rate funding, OpenDNS Enterprise also ensures our users can’t access malicious sites and download malware. The additional security that OpenDNS Enterprise provides by blocking malware earlier in the threat model is a very important benefit of using the service.”

OpenDNS Enterprise blocks malware both by preventing access to malicious sites and stopping users from downloading malware in the first place and by blocking the communication between a previously-infected device and its command and control, thus preventing data leaks or proliferation across the school’s network. A preventative strategy for malware protection is ideal for Houston Public Schools as it frees up IT to focus on more proactive projects.

Gottfried concluded, “Not only would I recommend using OpenDNS, it is incomprehensible to me that there are schools around not using it! To improve DNS performance, I recommend all schools get started with the basic version at the very least, and I encourage them to choose OpenDNS Enterprise for Web filtering and malware protection.”

About OpenDNS
OpenDNS is the world's leading provider of Internet security and DNS services, enabling the world to connect to the Internet with confidence on any device, anywhere, any time. OpenDNS provides millions of businesses, schools and households with a safer, faster and more intelligent Internet experience by protecting them from malicious Web threats and providing them control over how users navigate the Internet, while dramatically increasing the network's overall performance and reliability. For more information about OpenDNS, please visit: http://www.opendns.com.

About Houston Public Schools
Houston Public Schools exists in a rural setting and has a relatively small local student population of less than 500 students. We are also home to the largest online school in the state - Minnesota Virtual Academy (MNVA). Our district emphasizes small school values, ideals and personalized instruction delivered to a statewide audience of K-12 students as well as to our local students.

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Allison Rhodes
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