A Look Back at FAEDS 2018: Discussing the Role of IAM Solutions in Education with Jackson County Schools


Cute pupils running down the hall at the elementary school

Last month, Identity Automation joined K12 school districts, colleges, and universities from around the state of Florida in Orlando for the FAEDS 2018 conference hosted by the Florida Association of Educational Data Systems.

While there, we not only exhibited, but had the opportunity to partner with Jackson County Schools to present How Jackson County Schools Elevated the Role of IT with IAM. As usual, it was a great conference, so we wanted to share a few highlights from our time in Florida!

Conference Highlights

2018 was Identity Automation’s fourth year participating at the FAEDS conference. As in years past, we had a decked out booth manned by two of our account executives, Brynton Goynes and Quang Nguyen, as well as our principal sales consultant, Tim Till. Our team came back with fresh perspectives on the issues school districts and colleges deal with, a deeper understanding of our customers, and renewed motivation to improve identity and access management (IAM) in education.

Given the opportunity to talk one-on-one with professionals from school districts and colleges across the state of Florida, we found a common theme ran through most of the conversations—IT departments are struggling to execute fragmented identity and access management strategies where multiple tools are used to solve different components of the same problem.

For example, a district might use one solution for single sign-on, another for their data rostering needs, yet another for password management, and scripts for Active Directory management on top of all that. IT is then left to contend with multiple tools and vendors that fail to integrate in any meaningful way.

As the identity management needs of these colleges and school districts grow and evolve, this patchwork of solutions can’t keep up. Every time a new use case arises, IT must figure out how to fill the gap—a strategy that is inefficient, complex, and error-prone.

The schools that came to talk to us were aware they needed to make a change, but they didn’t always know where to start. When it comes to augmenting or upgrading your identity management infrastructure, we recommend consolidating to a centralized IAM platform that can address all needs in a single solution. Not only does this simplify implementation, integration, and security, but research has found that deploying a vendor-integrated IAM platform can provide cost savings of up to 48 percent, leading to 35 percent fewer deficiencies.

Check out our blog series on buying Single-Vendor Platforms vs Multi-Vendor Point Products to learn more about the advantages of moving to a centralized IAM platform.

Small Budget, Big Challenges

One school district who is well-aware of the benefits a single IAM platform can offer is our co-presenter from FAEDS, Jackson County Schools. Our presentation with them illustrated exactly how the right IAM solution can enable a more productive classroom environment, a more effective IT department, and the integration of technology into the classroom in a truly meaningful way.

Prior to implementing our IAM solution, RapidIdentity, Jackson County Schools was grappling with multiple IAM challenges. Password management issues, school transfers, and lack of a single sign-on portal were all decreasing efficiency for IT and increasing disruption and delays for students and staff.

Cut to 2018, though, and the district not only needs less time and resources to better manage identities and access, but Elizabeth Walden, the school district’s Network Manager, attended FAEDs to present and educate her peers on the specific advantages modern IAM solutions offer, including:

  • Auto provisioning and deprovisioning of accounts to ensure students have timely and correct access to resources, which could not be previously guaranteed
  • Self-service capabilities that give students and teachers the ability reset their own passwords
  • Their newly implemented fully managed, cloud-based SSO solution, which enables quick and easy access to all required applications and resources in one portal using a single set of credentials.

Walden wrapped up the presentation by covering the critical IAM lessons Jackson County Schools learned during implementation. Her top two being the importance of actively driving the adoption of the solution after implementation and picking the right product and vendor.

More than just picking and utilizing an identity and access solution, though, she stresses how this kind of transformation heavily impacts the future. Implementing RapidIdentity allowed their district to accelerate the adoption of new application and hardware technologies in the classroom, such as online textbooks, collaborative programs, and 1:1 device initiatives. And, IT now plays the critical role of a technology enabler and driver of classroom success.

Here’s to Another Great Year

From consolidation conversations to implementation lessons learned, this year’s FAEDS was a great opportunity for education and exchanging ideas.

We look forward to returning next year to continue our mission of providing  identity and access management solutions purpose-built for education and acting as a partner to school districts and colleges in their quest to bring more advanced and collaborative technologies into the classroom.

And don’t forget to catch us at our next two education shows as we finish out 2018. Next up, EDUCAUSE Annual and CETPA, where we’ll be exhibiting and co-presenting with customers to share their success stories.



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