In March 2020, higher education faced the same dilemma as many other industries, including banking, government, and healthcare. COVID-19 necessitated the closure of offices and campuses, and an unanticipated influx of remote employees. However, schools dealt with another layer of uncertainty as the rush to transition to online courses for their students put the security of their systems at risk.
“Like many things about the situation, it continues to evolve," said Doug Levin, Founder & President of EdTech Strategies. "There's always a lag time between when schools experience incidents and when those incidents become public, and that lag time may be greater today, when many people are not physically in schools and they're juggling many other priorities."
The shift to full online study happened quickly, leaving many university administrators scrambling to identify, let alone implement, a solution to transition swiftly to safe remote work for staff and virtual learning for students.
Some of the challenges for educational facilities are:
- Managing system permissions for hundreds to thousands of users logging into systems using their personal devices
- Ensuring compliance with regulations such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and HIPAA
- Inadequate infrastructure and too few IT support staff
- Separate identity access management applications for employees and students
As we approach the fall semester's start, some colleges and universities are continuing with complete virtual learning. In contrast, others plan for a hybrid of on-campus and online options. There isn’t one consistent course of action, and there is a real possibility that things could change mid-semester again due to the coronavirus.
Evolveum’s open-source midPoint Identity Access Management (IAM) platform is growing in popularity within the higher education community. The implementation of midPoint provides a robust management system to replace time-consuming, less secure legacy methods of account management.
The practice of individually granting access permissions depending on whether the user is a student or an instructor is inefficient. Further, it ignores one of the most crucial tenets of cyber risk management — having a single source of records for verifying credentials. MidPoint is a carefully designed, modern solution that deals with both identity management and governance. It can be configured with multi-factor authentication and single-sign-on tools to further lock down access and identity verification. With the new Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rulings restricting international students’ ability to enter the US to resume classes in the fall, a tool like midPoint can streamline the process of provisioning online accounts and resources across borders and time-zones.
The coronavirus pandemic has tested digital readiness in higher education. Implementing midPoint assures enhanced security to manage identities in multiple applications and numerous locations, so that remote work and learning are smooth transitions. Deciding to utilize a flexible and trusted identity access management system like midPoint is future-proofing your institution for the long-term.
Exclamation Labs has highly skilled implementation teams that are ready to talk with you about midPoint. If your university needs an IAM solution, we would be happy to hear more about your requirements and set up a demo of the system.