“Over 70 of the top 100 universities in the U.S. have gone Google, including seven of the eight Ivy Leagues.” (University Business, 2015)
It’s no surprise that Google has gained significant traction in higher education. With a productivity suite that is robust enough to meet the needs of student populations, extended collaboration capabilities, an attractive price point, lower overhead, and built-in security features like data encryption, secure mail transfer, and archived search, what’s not to love?
If Google was all IT had to worry about, IT administrators everywhere might truly have something to celebrate. But while 70% of higher education institutions might have “gone Google”, their users have also “gone” Office 365, Box, Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Uber, Spotify, and Skype, and any other cool, new app that hits the market.
However secure and easy to administer Google apps might be, they are secure and easy only within the Google ecosystem. The good news is that there is a new generation of identity and access management (IAM) solutions that make it much easier to centralize, manage, and control multi-vendor cloud environments. Giving IT centralized control and a solid body of security and administration options beyond what’s available in Google Apps increases cloud app security and compliance, and boosts productivity across both users and IT.
Without a unified IAM solution, enforcing 2-factor authentication at the application level becomes problematic. Even if you only use Google Apps, Dropbox, and Canvas, you’ll need to complete 2-factor authentication three times just to access your apps. If you time out, you’ll have to go through the process all over again. And if you log into an app directly, IT has no control over or record of that access, which creates a compliance nightmare.
“Cloud IAM has completely transformed the IAM market landscape.” Forrester, The Forrester WaveTM: B2E Cloud IAM, Q2, 2015
Even with limited IT resources, educational institutions shouldn’t be afraid of implementing a global IAM solution. With single sign-on and new, mobile-first GUI techniques, the new generation of cloud-based IAM solutions (or IDaaS) has made it much easier for both IT administrators and user populations to comply with security procedures. The leaders in this space provide future-proof, off-the-shelf solutions that are pre-integrated, not only with Google Apps and Google Education, but with common directory structures such as Active Directory and LDAP, as well as thousands of end-user applications.
With cloud-based Identity and Access Management, when you’re asked if your Google Apps are secure, you can answer, “Absolutely … along with Office 365, Box, Dropbox, Webex, Blackboard, Canvas, SmartSheet, SurveyMonkey, WikiSpaces, Adobe, WordPress, and all our other cloud-based applications!”