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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, RM in Technical; Anyone use RM ? What they like as ISP / Easymail and Content Filtering ? Heard alot of bad comments ...
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    RM

    Anyone use RM ?
    What they like as ISP / Easymail and Content Filtering ?
    Heard alot of bad comments and just wondering if they are still not good.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    We use RM for EasyMail, ISP and Filtering (SafetyNet Plus).

    They all perform fine and really I have no problem with them.

    My gut feeling is that they are pricey for what they offer (especially Broadband speed), but in terms of "it just works" and minimum input from me they have been good.

    I'm not an RM fan and I'd fight tooth and nail against them taking over my vanilla network, but until I'm allowed to check out the pricing of alternatives (private school, don't ask!) I have no reason to switch.

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    I have no desire to use RM's Connect software. I do feel that I can run my network OK with a vanilla network. However we have use them as our ISP for some time. I would agree that they seem a little pricy however I have had no major issues with their support and generally the service has been good. I'd pay a bit extra to get safetynet Plus so you have control of the internet filters. We don't use easymail as I have my own on-site server but we do relay all mail through them so it gets filtered. What I have seen is the price does inclued everything some alternative have been Provision cost+filteringcost etc.

    Our biggest problem has been the age old problem of ISP vs BT when there is a problem. They've handled it as well as could be expected during a couple of major outages and I don't really hold anything against them

    I'd like to stay with them but unfortunatley I have got a massively better deal from elsewhere that they can't get close to so I won't be renewing when our contract is up later this year.

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    witch's Avatar
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    We use them for easymail, filtering etc. (as do the whole of SWGfL unless the school has opted out).
    I have always found the support very good on the phone - not so good via the support site so I always ring them.
    They are pleasant and helpful

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    RM as a whole are rip-off merchants. Got no experience with their ISP services, but their Connect stuff is crud, their hardware I wouldn't give to Africa, their EasyMail is a Windows Server feature with an RM front-end, and their filtering system is essentially a CensorNet (or similar, I forget) box.

    I can't wait to get rid of every last drop of them here. They've caused nothing but misery to my working life.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    at my last schoolwe used them as an ISP, easymail webmail and their content filtering too.

    Every single one of those was outdated, badly performing and time consuming to administer - during my time there we replaced all the rm items (exchange for mail and smoothwall for filtering).

    The change in the degree of configurable options and pure functionality made a huge difference not only to teaching and learning but to the way the school ran as a whole.

    Never underestimate the value of webfiltering and communication that is AD integrated.

    Possibly if you're a smaller school or a primary you wouldn't miss the extra features that RM products are missing - but if you're a larger school or are trying to push towards a more technically complete way of working I word push for an alternative.

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    I currently have a CC3 system, and prior to me starting last summer they were almost an exclusive supplier to the school. I'll start by saying that I'm not an RM fan, as I think their solutions aren't good value for money overall, and while their support is friendly and well-meaning, they tend to seriously fall down as soon as you run into a problem that isn't in their KnowledgeBase.

    We used to have their ADSL, and still have SafetyNet filtering via an onsite SmartCache. The filtering is OK for the price, but isn't fabulous, and it has some weird problems with AD authentication that prevent uploads via Flash, which makes updating Wordpress-based sites more difficult than it needs to be. If I had the budget I'd replace it with a Smoothwall box, but at the moment it works well enough that I can't justify replacing it unless it breaks down.

    Their ADSL offering is not much different from any other business-grade service. You get ADSL Max (no 21CN yet). The only key differentiators are that they provide a ridiculously large number of public IP addresses (we had something like 25 of them) and they supply managed Cisco ADSL routers as the onsite equipment. The price is literally twice what you will pay for 21CN from Zen Internet, who are not exactly a budget provider.

    The thing that upset me the most, however, is that in the past they have been astonishingly bad at the router management. A few years ago (before I started) the school discovered that RM had assigned public IP addresses to the internal DCs, with no firewall. This was ostensibly so RM could provide remote support for the servers, but was unsurprisingly leading to the world and his dog connecting to the servers, which had publicly accessible shares, as they were supposed to be internal servers. RMs solution was to sell an expensive Cisco PIX firewall, when what they really needed to do was ether set up NAT on the router, or configure the SPI firewall that the router has built-in. I very much hope they aren't still doing this sort of thing, but the fact they had led the school to spend so much money on an unnecessary piece of kit annoyed me so much that changing ADSL supplier was one of my first acts when I took over.

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    We have used RMs CC3 management software for over 8 years now, it has served us very well allowing us to integrate Open source solutions into our network and thus save the school tens of thousands of pounds.

    We are now at phase 3 of our proof of concept of CC4 which is also looking very good and if it works as well as our old CC3 then we will be well pleased looking at a seamless roll-out in September this year along with other projects.

    RM is, I feel a likened to "Marmite" you either love it or hate it!! whichever, it is the school which we serve and the staff within whom we support and we give 100% to both here and without the RM management software we would struggle with the added workload not having the manpower to support a Vanilla system as well as we support our current system.

    Every person has his/her ideals and this I feel adds to a wonderful kaleidescope of skill-sets and wealth of experience, I feel everyone on this forum is like my brother and sister and can call on them for advice at anytime and get good sound common sense answers.

    Thank you all

  9. 2 Thanks to bossman:

    Hightower (12th May 2010), sparkeh (12th May 2010)

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    WithoutMotive's Avatar
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    Our LA use RM for content filtering and it's just awful. I'm constantly getting in touch to ask them to unblock perfectly legitimate sites. I struggle downloading drivers for various things because they've blocked it. And yet, some sites which SHOULD be blocked, aren't. What also "grinds my gears" is that they give no reason for blocking various sites other than "it contravenes our filtering guidelines" even though the site is clearly an education resource. So, no, I'm not a fan.

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    Interesting - some very different views here - could it be that RM filtering etc is fine for primary but not senior schools?

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    If you want full control, have something in house, otherwise it seems like you have to work with what's best for all schools using the filtering and the companies managing these filters will decide that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WithoutMotive View Post
    Our LA use RM for content filtering and it's just awful. I'm constantly getting in touch to ask them to unblock perfectly legitimate sites. I struggle downloading drivers for various things because they've blocked it. And yet, some sites which SHOULD be blocked, aren't. What also "grinds my gears" is that they give no reason for blocking various sites other than "it contravenes our filtering guidelines" even though the site is clearly an education resource. So, no, I'm not a fan.
    Just wondering if this is a purely RM thing or is the hand of the LA involved in why your service is not as you wish it to be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Interesting - some very different views here - could it be that RM filtering etc is fine for primary but not senior schools?
    I think it might come down to exactly which filtering product you have. If you have either a SmartCache or SafetyNet Plus (rather than just SafetyNet) you can define your own white/blacklists. I certainly would lose the will to live without this feature, so I can why anyone without it would be very frustrated.

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    WithoutMotive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Just wondering if this is a purely RM thing or is the hand of the LA involved in why your service is not as you wish it to be?
    I wouldn't be surprised but they've always stated it's nothing to do with them. I'm always bypassing the LA to get RM to unblock things. It's THEIR filtering guidelines that block us. RM or LA... not keen on either of them. Lol.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    You can manage you school's web filter if you pay the right money... we don't and I have to submit stuff that gets through to filtering @ rm... it's blocked with the next overnight update (sooner if necessary) I routinely test the proxies that get flagged up on edugeek and send them off if they get through.

    They've only made one real howler with blocking good content... they blocked google completely a couple of months ago! That was fixed within the hour! Apparently their staff work behind the SafetyNet filter too... which I think is good. I have had to dealwith the filtering team in person to sort out a problem with our website; they were very helpful.

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