Filtering: Best Practices

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When first implementing Sonar into your environment, there can be a lot of things that you will be considering changing and/or utilising. Sonar has many features that you can take advantage of, and one of them in particular, is Web Filtering. You will want to be able to control and manage the kind of content your users can access online, as well as restrict them to the content you do not want them to access. With Sonar's Web Filtering features, it's as easy as flipping a switch, however, where do you begin? 

WHAT SHOULD YOU BLOCK?

Deciding what to block for your users, whether it be STAFF or STUDENTS, is a decision that you must come up with. Once you have decided what to block, you can move forward with the implementation stage of integrating those blocks into the appropriate groups.

Blocks or "Blacklist" categories that you place in groups are blocked at "group level". This means, only users who are a member of that group will be blocked. If you place in any Exceptions however, it will override whatever is in their block list. 

WHAT SHOULD YOU ALLOW?

You should only allow things things as Exceptions only when you absolutely have to. Exceptions should only be implemented for domains that are categorized under something that you have otherwise blocked. Exceptions will always override blocks and should not be used lightly, only for sites that your need. It is highly recommended that you do not add full CT Categories into exceptions. The best practice would be to create your own custom list for exceptions, and place any domains you want to allow into that list.

GLOBAL POLICY

On Sonar, there is a default group called "POLICY_GROUP". This group manages the filtering for everyone authenticated to Sonar. Policy Group is for what you want to block at a global level. Categories and websites blocked in the Policy Group cannot be excepted, as in, Exceptions will not work. The things you place into the Policy Group are placed in there under the assumption that you want to permanently block that category or domain. Policy Group can be bypassed however with a Group setting. Each group has their own individual settings, and there is an option to "Disable Global Policies". By ticking this box, the group will not be subject to the Policy Group.  

If a site comes up that is categorized under something you have blocked in Policy Group, and you wish to allow it, you will have to remove that category from the Policy Group. If you want to allow that site but keep the category blocked, you will have to add the category into the individual group (a Group Level block) and place in an exception for the domain you want to Except.

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