Identity Access Management in Education

More often, we see schools and colleges introducing and upgrading their Identity and Access Management solutions in their IT infrastructure. As a leading vendor in the industry for over 18 years, the team at Tools4ever started asking why. The three most common motivating factors found were;  increased affordability, better IAM functionality and increased compliance pressures.

The first and most prominent reason is how affordable Identity and Access Management solutions have become. With a saturation of vendors in the IGA market, naturally, prices have been driven down over the years. This has made IAM products accessible to small and medium educational organizations, not just the big school districts and universities with enterprise level budgets. The big organizations that started with basic automation software have now expanded to access governance, helpdesk delegation and other more advanced features. The smaller organizations that used have a team manually processing any and all records, have now introduced automation for onboarding and offboarding. We have seen all types of schools and colleges dive into the tech pool to achieve efficiencies as pricing has now made it possible; and it many cases, these solutions actually save organizations money.

The second reason is an improvement IAM functionality. In the last decade, technology in all industries has taken leaps and the IGA industry is no exception. Twenty years ago, the industry intended to aid the role of the System and Network Administrators. Today, IGA has now evolved into a multi-departmental aid, with the helpdesk, HR Department, IT department and management all reaping the benefits. Take our Identity-as-a-Service product for example. It offers automation, access governance, password management, helpdesk delegation, role based access control, reporting and self-service. These features not only create a lean infrastructure that eliminates many, and in some cases all, manual efforts, it also reduces errors and eliminates that ‘busy season’ many schools, universities and colleges experience each year. IAM offers a central port for all departments to access and input information and report on the latter as they please.

Finally, the protection of student and staff information has become of increasing importance. Regulations such as FERPA and NCES 97-859 have put pressure on educational organizations to implement safeguards against wrongful access of private information. Adhering to these regulations has led to schools and colleges seeking solutions such as password management, two-factor authentication and role-based access control to ensure that each person has the correct access – no more, no less.

To conclude, there has been a clear escalation in educational bodies seeking Identity and Access Management solutions and we now know why; affordability, great features and compliance pressures. The next question is, will this growth stop? My guess would be no. Compliance and privacy regulations are on the increase, and with pressures on IT to get the most out of their budgets, automation is the key to increasing efficiencies. With this in mind it’s important that when selection an IAM vendor, you strive for an all-encompassing vendor that can not only deal with the issues you face now, but can also future proof your school or college from the inevitable IAM needs you will face in the future.

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