Back to School – Time to think about CIPA Compliance

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The new school year has started which means the topic of safe online learning is once again being discussed among school IT departments. It is a topic that can include a discussion around CIPA compliance, especially if your school is looking to participate in E-Rate. When looking for a solution to ensure your network is compliant it is worth investigating the Barracuda Web Security Gateway.

CIPA is the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which is a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2000. The purpose of CIPA is to address concerns about access to obscene or harmful content over the Internet. CIPA is attached to the federal “E-Rate” program, which helps fund technology initiatives for schools and libraries. In short, organizations that receive E-Rate funding must comply with CIPA regulations.

Barracuda provides a full portfolio of security solutions that can protect organizations from Internet threats. The Barracuda Web Security Gateway is an award-winning, purpose-built appliance that provides comprehensive web content security. The capabilities of the Web Security Gateway line up nicely with the requirements of the CIPA regulations.


CIPA Requirement: Organizations must certify that they have an Internet safety policy that includes measures to block or filter internet access to offensive pictures that are (a) obscene, (b) child pornography, or (c) harmful to minors. This content protection must be in place for all computers that are accessed by minors.

Barracuda Web Security Gateway: Barracuda Web Security Gateway includes a preinstalled URL list containing millions of URLs classified into 95 categories for easy and efficient content filtering. This list is continuously updated by engineers at Barracuda Central and delivered hourly via the Energize Updates subscription service sold with the Barracuda Web Security Gateway. You can read more about content filtering and how it works with the Barracuda Web Categorization Service in this blog post.

Content Filtering & Spyware Prevention

CIPA Requirement: Schools and libraries subject to CIPA are required to adopt and implement policies addressing access by minors to inappropriate material. As part of this component, they must include the safety of minors when using email, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communications. Additionally, schools subject to CIPA are required to adopt and enforce a policy to monitor the online activities of minors.

Barracuda Web Security Gateway: Specific sites can be blocked or allowed using explicit block and allow lists, and downloads can be limited to only specific approved file types. The Barracuda Web Security Gateway can enforce Safe Search tags for sites like Google images and video, preventing children from circumventing protection policies through the media caches of popular search engines. In addition to blocking content, the Barracuda Web Security Gateway protects other malware threats, such as unauthorized keylogging and personal information theft. These activities are unlawful and can be extremely dangerous to minors and institutions and corporations. The Barracuda Web Filter is extremely effective at blocking and reporting such malicious activity. It stops the transport of the stolen information.

Application Blocking and Client Lockdown

CIPA Requirement: Organizations must block unauthorized or unlawful activities by minors online, and unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors. Organizations must also restrict minors’ access to materials that are harmful to them.

Barracuda Web Security Gateway: The Barracuda Web Security Gateway enables administrators to easily select Internet applications to block or allow. For example, a single checkbox can block Instant Messaging (IM) traffic and eliminate a frequently used criminal channel for soliciting minors. The Client Lockdown feature enables administrators to disable Internet access from systems that have been hacked, hijacked, or otherwise compromised.

If you’d like more information on how the Barracuda Web Security Gateway helps with CIPA compliance, or on any of our K-12 solutions, take a look at our Barracuda Web Security Gateway and our K-12 solutions websites.
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