OneLogin Becomes an Essential Tool for San José Unified School District

It all started with an antiquated email platform, with poor performance and limited accessibility. “The running joke was that calendars had to be printed on paper because there was no way to get your mobile calendar,” remembers Patrick Scanlan, a supervisor in the technology and information services department for the San José Unified School District. 

One need led to another: a new email platform meant a new file storage solution, and a cloud file storage meant single sign-on (SSO).

School District Serves Tens of Thousands of Users

Serving the largest city in northern California, San José Unified serves elementary, middle and high schools, with approximately 33,000 students and 3,500 staff, with 42 locations. That’s tens of thousands of people who need access to secured data on a daily and hourly basis.

Scanlan’s IT role is highly detailed, but his job is also to consider the big picture. “The purpose of what we do every single day is to provide students and staff with the tools, resources, and abilities to have as much instructional time in their day as possible. We’re a not-for-profit business. We do not sell anything. If we had a product, it’s customer service and instructional time.”

Cloud File Storage App Leads to the Need for SSO

To improve their “product,” Scanlan and his team upgraded the school to a new email platform with much needed features. However, they lost the file storage that was previously available with the old email platform.

So they found a cloud-based file storage solution, Box—which also meant they needed a new approach to the infrastructure. Scanlan recalls, “We have 33,000 students that we want to give accounts to. We have 3,500 staff users that we know are going to want to use it. How do we get them in without making that process difficult or frustrating for them?” The folks at Box recommended OneLogin.

OneLogin Provides More Than an SSO Solution

After the first year using OneLogin for Box exclusively, students, teachers and staff were comfortably familiar with the San José Unified login page. Simultaneously, Scanlan and his team were becoming more aware of the additional capabilities OneLogin offers.

“The usability of it from the admin side and from the user side, I don’t want to say it’s completely seamless, but, I mean, you can’t get anything better … The set up, the installation, the configuration options, the mapping capabilities, the true integration with Active Directory that we have with the OneLogin product is quite amazing,” he says.

Real-Time Sync with Active Directory

In all school districts, student and staff turnover is frequent—with graduating students, moving students, new teachers, retiring administration, substitutes and temporary staff. Therefore, Active Directory has played a critical role in day-to-day activities. As Scanlan explains, “The real-time sync that occurs within OneLogin and our Active Directory via the Active Directory connector is essential to ensuring that the people that need to have access to their programs and platforms have it and those that shouldn’t, don’t.”

Unified User Experience, SAML Integration, and Flexible Mappings

And Active Directory is only the beginning. OneLogin’s customized and unified user experience has been instrumental in the district’s ability to create internal support resources. The ease of use and security benefits of OneLogin’s SAML integration has led SJUSD to make SAML a key criterion for new apps in the organization. Flexible mapping replicates past services, like site level folders, as well as creating new ones.

The Bottom Line

Scanlan affirms, “Without OneLogin, it would be really hard for us to scope, scale, and deploy the number of applications and platforms that we do to our students, so it’s become essential to our daily use within the organization. I don’t know how we would function on a daily basis with all of the platforms and programs that we use without this product.”

Learn More

Want to learn more about how OneLogin empowers the San Jose Unified School District? Get the full Customer Story here: “San Jose Unified School District Saves Time, Speeds User Provisioning and New App Rollouts.” Contact us to learn more about how OneLogin can empower your business with an identity management solution.

About the Author

Thomas Bayens

Thomas Bayens is responsible for customer marketing at OneLogin. With a background in marcom and communications, plus stints in product marketing, channel marketing and sales at business analytics, storage, and computing vendors, it is always interesting to interview customers, and to share their story and perspective of how and why they chose our company and product — and the value they perceive.

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