I’ve attended the CoSN Annual Conference for the past seven years and in each of those years, I’ve run into more and more people who are customers of Identity Automation. It’s been an interesting transition going from being a vendor no one’s heard of who’s providing a solution to a challenge schools don’t know much about to becoming a leader in a space that’s absolutely pivotal to education technology. It’s also been very satisfying to see the company mature and grow over these past seven years.
While I was fairly accurate with my post-conference prediction that cloud would be a big topic at this year’s CoSN, the topic that was actually most discussed was Right to Privacy, just like at Brainstorm 16.0 earlier in the month. The privacy concerns voiced by the technology leaders at CoSN revolved around trust. More and more external systems are being leveraged for delivering content to students and educators, but what are the vendors of those systems doing with student data? For example, if a student has poor math grades, is an online learning system going to have insight into that and sell that information to a company that will hound the student and his or her parents with offers for tutoring services?
How much control does a school have over the data they provide to these vendors and what will the vendors do with it? At the end of the day, there’s still a lot to be discussed on educational Right to Privacy, but it’s an important issue that needs to be talked about. And though it’s largely a legal issue, identity management can ease some of the associated concerns by providing insight and controls over the data passed to vendors. Solutions like those from Identity Automation can help schools take back control over the level of access they give outside parties by giving them a view into the data they’re sending to these vendors.
It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that student privacy is a hot, hot topic that’s only becoming more popular. Technology, and specifically identity management and governance, should be a key part of these conversations as they continue to happen. I look forward to hearing opinions from many more people on the subject and helping them implement technology that supports the protection of student personal information.