Identity Automation's Identity and Access Management Blog

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2016 was the year of the hacker. From Russian hackers targeting US elections to the jaw-dropping compromise of more than 1 million Yahoo! user accounts and the DDoS attack that "broke the Internet," it seems like hacks and data breaches were in the news every day. Russian hackers aside, ransomware was the cybersecurity topic that captured the year’s headlines.

Earlier this week, we released the most popular blog posts in 2016 from our Enterprise Blog. So today, we wanted to do the same with our K12 and higher education blog posts. After all, we’ve covered a variety of identity and access management (IAM) topics this year on our Education blog, including unique IAM challenges in higher ed, managing contingent users, provisioning users with multiple roles, and student data rostering.

Previously in our two-part series on the identity and access challenges unique to higher education, we discussed users with multiple roles, the increasing use of technology in the classroom, and limited budget and manpower. As you may already have guessed, these challenges are just the beginning.

In today’s educational landscape, universities and colleges face distinct identity and access challenges unlike those encountered in retail and other commercial environments. And while retail, financial services, and the like are generally viewed as higher-risk from a cybersecurity point of view, the risks to higher education are just as critical. In fact, higher education “accounts for 17 percent of all reported data breaches, ranking second only to the medical industry,” according to Privacy Rights Clearing House. In this first post of our two-part series, we will take a look at some of these  challenges that are unique to higher education.

As the higher education landscape evolves, the community college system is growing in importance. For example, it is now commonplace for community college campuses, such as Houston Community College (HCC) and California Community College System, to serve as physical locations for associated state university classes. With this partnership in place, state universities can increase revenue and serve a broader student population, working to educate students who previously would not have been able to attend university classes.

 

Are you using an identity and access management (IAM) solution designed for the enterprise to manage user identities and access privileges at your community college or university? If so, then you’ve likely already run into some serious difficulties—and if you haven’t yet, it’s only a matter of time. An increasingly complex IT environment and growing number of users that require access to systems and data have made user identity and permissions management more challenging than ever, particularly in higher-education institutions.

At the end of June, I joined more than 16,000 ed tech leaders as they converged on Denver, Colorado for a week of idea sharing, collaboration, and networking at the 2016 ISTE Conference & Expo. 

You may be working alongside one of them and not even realize it: a substitute teacher, an adjunct professor, or a special education contractor. They’re all contingent workers - employees hired for a time period of one year or less with a specific end date; they could be full-time or part-time. Over the past decade, a trend has emerged in academia of these contingent workers being hired, and we’ve seen it accelerate at an increasingly high rate over the past few years.

For us here at Identity Automation, we witnessed amazing growth in the education tech sector this year. It’s been quite a ride... from North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction’s roll out of its cloud entity platform to our irrefutable support of the Student Privacy Pledge.