Higher education organizations have a lot of technical challenges at hand, from the sheer number of students they serve to security risks and an ever-evolving population. College identity access management (IAM) solutions can help colleges and universities tackle these difficulties, managing student and staff access and improving the experience of students, staff and IT personnel.

At Optimal IdM, we offer a massive range of custom solutions with the OptimalCloud built to the unique needs of your organization. With our ongoing support at all hours of the day and a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, you can be completely confident in your IAM setup.

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IAM in Higher Education

IAM for higher education refers to a range of methods used to protect and manage user identities, which is essential to maintain appropriate security for the organization and individuals. These organizations must protect their students’ and staff’s private information, but if they want to stay competitive, they must do this while offering reliable systems with high uptime and ease of use. After all, college students are becoming more and more technically savvy with each year — they expect intuitive interfaces and modern functionality.

With IAM, higher education institutions can accomplish these goals. Sometimes, IAM is performed in-house with a large IT team, but for many organizations, this is cost-prohibitive and time-consuming. Outsourcing IAM in education institutions often provides a much greater value when the college partners with a skilled technical team.

Identity Management Challenges in Higher Education

Every industry has different challenges, and higher education is no exception. Some of the challenges prevalent in higher education institutions include:

  • Security: Colleges and universities are hot targets for data breaches. Whether through weak passwords, outside hacks or a variety of other sources, the valuable information held by these institutions can include plenty of personal data, like social security numbers, birthdates, full names, addresses, payment details and more. Keeping this data safe is imperative to building trust in an institution and avoiding damaging breaches or leaks.
  • Consistently changing user populations: Every year, a new batch of students comes in and another one leaves. Manually entering their information would be a difficult and time-consuming task, if not downright impossible. An effective IAM system can make this process automatic, easing the burden on staff and creating near-instantaneous access for users. College identity access management also needs to address alumni populations, changing account permissions and statuses as needed.
  • IT team demands: From password requests to name or email changes, time-consuming tasks can eat into an IT team’s resources. IAM systems can alleviate this burden.
  • Interruption-free operations: Classes run on tight schedules and students do homework at all hours of the day, so colleges and universities need to provide reliable system access.

How Optimal IdM Can Help

Optimal IdM is well-versed in the needs of colleges and universities and delivers a wide array of services tailored for these organizations. We supply on-premise, cloud and hybrid solutions according to the needs of your institution.

Automatic Provisioning

With so many users joining and leaving the institution every year, adding and removing their accounts must be as simple as possible. We can automate these tasks and reduce the IT team’s involvement. It also helps ensure that alumni accounts are removed from the system in a timely manner and that students get quick, easy access to their accounts when the semester starts.

Authentication as a Service

Our Authentication as a Service (AaaS) offerings include a range of security-boosting authentication capabilities, such as multifactor authentication.

With this service, institutions can increase security during higher-risk logins, such as first-time logins or those from a new device. You can configure these options so users have to enter a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) to access their account, which can be delivered via email, short message service (SMS), voice calls or push notification. Multifactor authentication can come with a wide range of advanced features like dynamic learning based on user behaviors and risk profiles and static policies based on factors like location.

Our AaaS solutions can be an integral part of creating a security environment that’s compliant with applicable regulations.

User-Friendly Portals and Self-Service Access

The more users can do on their own, the more positive their experience is and the less of a burden your IT team has to deal with. There are myriad reasons for students and staff to update their profiles. Whether they need to reset their password or update their emails, the right higher education IAM system can make self-service simple, freeing up the IT team and making for a faster, easier experience for students and staff.

In addition to self-service capabilities, user portals should be intuitive and reflect users’ need for a quick, positive experience.

Single Sign-On

Between email clients, word processors, course management systems, financial account management, course sign-up systems and other educational tools, students and staff have many different programs to log into. Single Sign-On (SSO) services are an excellent, modern approach to providing easy access to the variety of programs that students and staff need to use. With SSO, one set of credentials grants access to all of the university’s programs.

SSO is incredibly convenient for the users, but it can also help increase security — they won’t need to write down all of their passwords or reuse the same ones. SSO works with a massive catalog of programs, and we have over 7,000 applications pre-integrated with The OptimalCloud™.

Another benefit of SSO is its ease of use for account management. From name and detail changes to adjustments in a student’s enrollment status, there are many reasons you may need to make changes to a user’s account. Our higher education IAM system and SSO means you can easily make adjustments that apply to all downstream applications.

Why Optimal IdM

At Optimal IdM, we prioritize innovative solutions and top-tier customer service. Our clients enjoy guaranteed 99.9% uptime and 365/24/7 support, and our college and university identity access management solutions offer complete customization for the unique landscape of your institution. Whatever you’re teaching, we’ll take all the necessary steps to deliver a secure, efficient and easy-to-use access solution to students and staff.

Read more about Optimal IdM’s IAM solutions for higher education, or reach out to a team member today to discuss IAM implementation in your institution.

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