Imagine that you are a child born within the last fifteen years. For you—the Internet has always existed. It’s second nature for you to pop online to watch a video, to research a topic for homework, to chat with friends, play online games, or to post that ever-important video. For the rest of us that have been around longer than fifteen years, we know the Internet can also hold some dark and frankly spooky stuff we would rather not expose to children. Besides the daunting task of monitoring what sites and content their children visit, parents also have to manage their children’s device time consumption.
Do Parents Want to be Sysadmins?
If you perform an internet search, it’s easy to see there are many excellent parental control apps and devices that help parents manage these problems. But it’s exhausting! How do non-technical parents choose and manage a solution that works across all the devices on the household network? Purchase expensive hardware? Perform complicated software downloads and installation across multiple device vendors and platforms? How will they easily manage this—and can they, across all of their devices? It’s one thing to enable parental controls on a cell phone or a laptop, but what about a gaming system? Or an intelligent device that has no traditional operating system?
Increasing Government Regulation
Increasingly there is talk of regional and national governments devising plans on how best to regulate content to protect children online. According to Bloomberg, European and U.S. regulators are likely to ramp up enforcement of privacy laws this year, especially children’s privacy, and wrap up probes of big technology companies. Just last week, the U.K. unveiled a plan that would provide the government more power to regulate internet content. Earlier this year, France approved mandatory online pornography age checks.
Parents Look to ISPs for Help
I have spoken to numerous service providers in the past year, and I’ve noticed a common thread. Many providers offer parental control capabilities to their subscribers, either through home gateways or though software agents installed on devices. Still, many providers want to provide such a service (and are even being asked by their subscribers for such a service) but don’t.
But why not?
Often it comes down to money and resources. In my past life as a product manager at a very large service provider, I quickly learned that launching any new service is a daunting (dare I say, exhausting?) task. From a financial standpoint, the investment required to create a new service offering has to make sense. From an operational perspective, the solution needs to be easy to manage and scale with minimal impact on operations.
In launching a parental control capability, many ISPs may shy away from the perceived substantial initial investment to apply content filtering features on existing Layer 7 firewalls or deep packet inspection (DPI) platforms. The initial investment to launch (both in terms of capital and internal IT resources) is too high. The size of such investment typically leads to a long time to market, further increasing the risk of failure. The result? Most value-added services projects never leave the PowerPoint planning stage.
We go into great detail on this on a past blog titled Reverting the Value-Added Services Cycle of Inaction.
Leverage an Existing & Powerful Tool: DNS
When building differentiated value-added services, it’s easy to overlook a powerful, efficient tool you already have: DNS. Why not use DNS as a simple way to provide parental controls to subscribers? Use the DNS you already have to deliver cost-effective, next-level security solutions to your subscribers with minimal investment and effort.
Infoblox Subscriber Services provides a scalable, resource-efficient, DNS-based way to protect your network and users. It turns DNS into an effective tool for building value-added security services, blocking threats at the source while providing consistent performance.
Its lightweight footprint is easy to deploy and manage as an offering to existing fixed and wireless internet services. That last bit is essential. If you offer both fixed and wireless services—you can provide your subscribers the same parental control capabilities managed from one portal that applies to all of their devices. Also, it’s an easy attach for your subscribers. There are no software downloads or complex installations. Your subscribers can configure and manage the solution from a single screen.
Best of all—it makes your business case more appealing. Traditional solutions typically require a substantial upfront investment, requiring product managers to project a per-subscriber ramp-up that may take years to recoup. Infoblox’s DNS-based approach lets you minimize up-front investment with a scalable solution and a pay-as-you-grow licensing model, so you pay only for the number of subscribers using the service. You can also leverage your existing DNS infrastructure so you can cost-effectively provide extended visibility, content control, and security to end-users. Infoblox even provides you with a user-friendly subscriber portal; you can present a branded and differentiated offer that is simple for your subscribers to attach, personalize, and use.
Service providers worldwide rely on Infoblox Secure DNS to optimize and safeguard their networks. Now, you can use DNS to offer value-added services with less risk. Unearth the hidden potential of your DNS: Infoblox Subscriber Services — one of the easiest, most efficient (and less exhaustive) ways to provide comprehensive, easy-to-configure parental controls to your subscribers.