The education industry faces many challenges—student enrollments, graduation rates, rankings, funding, and the list goes on. In the era of COVID-19, new challenges have been discovered and previous challenges have been amplified. One of the primary obstacles that the education industry has faced since COVID-19 is moving towards a fully virtual learning environment. Although many schools had or were implementing online learning platforms pre-COVID, most IT Departments were not adequately prepared to swiftly move their local user base to a remote user base. This includes staff, faculty, students, teacher’s assistants, and many others that are needed to support the school. Oh, and don’t forget, every quarter or semester, the user base can change. While enabling virtual environments has been top-of-mind for many schools even in the pre-COVID world, providing seamless, easy-to-adopt access is more important than ever.
Here are the top challenges faced by school districts and educational institutions:
Spear phishing attacks - Universities, colleges and schools are among the organizations that are seeing an uptick in hackers and bad actors who are exploiting the pandemic to steal personal and corporate data. Spear phishing attacks are targeting users with messages around COVID-19 communications - like school closings, openings, or changes in scheduling - to entice users to click or download malware. To combat spear phishing, there are steps the IT department can take.
- Stop the click by educating users about these threats, so they begin to question any unknown messages they receive.
- Block the malware using anti-malware software and tools like OneLogin Shield, that warn users about dangerous websites and actions.
- Prevent access by requiring at least basic level multi-factor authentication, or take it a step above with SmartFactor Authentication™, OneLogin’s contextual authentication tool to add Vigilance AI™ to your security defense.
Role-Based Access Control - The IT department needs to ensure the right users have the right access at all times. Whether it’s a student accessing their Google classroom or a teacher checking their email through O365, having an automated process to grant, and take away, access to applications as well as being able to define policies based on roles, is essential. One of the OneLogin Trusted Experience Platform™ centralized management features is the ability to enable provisioning via policies based on role-based access control (RBAC). Through this solution, helpdesk would be enabled to onboard and offboard 9x faster, allowing them to spend their time elsewhere, like focusing on cybersecurity threats.
Zoombombing & conference security - Search “university zoombombing” and you’ll find thousands of results of virtual school meetings that were interrupted by unwanted guests, oftentimes displaying inappropriate images and messaging. How can universities and schools prevent these types of vulnerabilities? To start, ensure all of your users log into Zoom with a secure login that requires multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure user’s credentials are not compromised when they are logging into the meeting. Next, using OneLogin’s automated provisioning (mentioned above in RBAC), make sure the right people have the right Zoom licensing. Finally, ensure your administrator has enforced Zoom settings allowing only users who have been authenticated to join meetings. Check out our Cheatsheet on Zoombombing.
Secure access to remote servers and workstations - IT departments are facing the challenge of remotely managing their servers and workstations and oftentimes, these institutions are using Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to access these virtual components. OneLogin for Remote Desktop Gateway (RDG) and Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web) enables users to simply and securely access these Windows servers and desktops in local or remote data centers or in private clouds (i.e. AWS or Microsoft Azure), while being able to layer on multi-factor or SmartFactor authentication to increase security. Gary Gwin, OneLogin’s Senior Director of Product wrote an in-depth blog about RDP.
OneLogin has a solid track record of supporting the unique challenges faced by school districts and educational institutions. We recently published customer stories with Glennie School and Galileo Global Education, discussing their specific challenges: Glennie School needed to streamline their user experience for 2,000 users across multiple applications, while Galileo Global Education was looking for a flexible, cloud platform to manage their global user base with a seamless, easy-to-adopt solution. Although their stories are different in what brought them to OneLogin, there is one unique identifier - the need for a Single Sign On (SSO) solution. OneLogin understands how important simple, secure identity and access management is for schools, now more than ever, which is why we are offering 3 months free for education*. Join hundreds of other school districts and universities and protect your students and faculty with OneLogin today.
But don’t just listen to us, take it from our customers - here are their stories: