What if you had to support… say … 20,000 users. And every year 4,000 people left and 6,000 new people joined. And everyone was a heavy smartphone and tablet user, worked remotely outside the firewall, and each used their phones with countless 3rd-party apps. And what if a whole bunch of them had a habit of regularly forgetting their passwords, and some even resorted to writing down their passwords on yellow sticky notes…
Welcome to today’s higher education IT nightmare.
Today’s colleges and universities face steep challenges in trying to manage and control access and security in an environment that has to onboard/off-board roughly 50% of its user population every single year. And unlike commercial businesses where employees have – at least theoretically – some personal investment in maintaining the integrity of company data, student populations are notoriously cavalier in this regard. They may cover their cars in school decals and bumper stickers, but few give even a passing thought to the security of their schools’ data systems.
In fact, most millennials and post-generation millennials, while heavy users of technology, aren’t necessarily enamored with it’s underpinnings. They want to interact quickly and directly with the functions of the applications they are using, but not so much with the technology systems that enable and protect them. Make security burdensome, and they will find a way around it … or find a freeware app that doesn’t impose the same restrictions.
The good news is that the new generation of identity and access management (IAM) solutions are ideally suited for today’s college and university populations to address security issues while keeping students, faculty, and other collaborators happy. For instance, OneLogin was developed from the ground up with a specific focus on a distributed generation of cloud and mobile users, and built using established open industry connectivity and security standards, such as SAML, LDAP, and Radius. Another focus has been on the intuitive user interface where the minimal effort required to use them is much less than any effort involved in trying to work around them.
On the back end, the solution comes with a huge productivity advantage for both end-users as well as IT administrators. Single sign-on (SSO) and self-service password recovery/reset can save an estimated $20-25 per call on password-related issues. (And that’s without factoring in the significant reduction in end-user downtime and aggravation.)
The bottom line is that today’s Identity and Access Management Systems can help IT in higher ed take care of business and keep intellectual property as well as personal data secure, taking the fear out of security nightmares.