Identity Management vs. Login Syncing: What’s the Difference? Part Two



Has your district evaluated or implemented single sign-on (SSO) services to simplify your students and educators’ login experience to their online learning tools? While this is an important step forward, it’s likely not the full solution your district needs.

To truly protect your students and educators online, your district’s technology strategy must center around digital identities. In Part One of this blog series, we discussed why K-12 is a target for malicious actors, an overview of three cybersecurity concepts to differentiate login syncing and digital identity management, as well as an in-depth exploration of Difference #1: Granular Digital Identities. 

Now, let’s dive into the remaining two key concepts—centralized administration of digital identities and unifying online authentication.

Difference #2: Centralized Administration Covering All Systems and Users

As addressed in Part One of this blog series, centralized administration of digital identities allows the IT department to manage thousands, or even millions, of identities with consistent policies at very low cost and administrative burden. It is generally best to centralize administration of digital identities so that policies can be managed efficiently.

That means the IT team doesn’t have to make policy changes in multiple tools, which ensures consistency of policies and helps the IT team save time. Additionally, IT’s ability to efficiently manage security and offer a frictionless experience extends to all user types, whether it be students, teachers, administrators, parents, or even third party service providers who need temporary access.

Managing digital identities for all users allows your district to apply simple rules for groups of users, such as all students getting access to one application or device, while only teachers get access to another. These policy-driven controls make it easy for administrators to make changes across large sets of users so that the change is implemented quickly and users get what they need much faster than changing access at the individual user level.

Difference #3: Unifying Online Authentication with Digital Identities

A great approach to mitigating threats before they start is to set your identities up to have a single sign-on experience with a single unified login. This experience begins at the device and provides protection to the organization. The goal is to prevent a hacker from moving laterally throughout district systems if they do break in. Think of it like confining a thief to your foyer if they happen to break into your house. You can do this by accomplishing three tasks.

The cloud offers enhanced security
Harden your infrastructure by moving as much as possible to the cloud as a powerful form of defense by segmentation. What makes ransomware and malware so vicious is how they break through the “castle wall” of infrastructure that is on the district premises and infect everything. Moving software to the cloud, as is the case with RapidIdentity, gives you added protection from various attacks, such as ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS).

Improving endpoint security
Harden your endpoints by enforcing multi-factor authentication (MFA). If you still have entry points that are high-value (HR/Finance system, etc.) or can be leveraged for lateral movement (Windows servers, VPNs, etc.), then mitigate the risk as much as possible with enhanced authentication measures. MFA can block over 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks, and with MFA implemented, knowing or obtaining a password alone will not be enough to gain access to a system.

Hardening account-level security
Proactively mitigate account risk by continuously monitoring your digital identities for compromised credentials. When a user goes to set/reset their password, ensure that they are not leveraging a password that has already been compromised in a known-data breach. However, just because a user resets their password to something that is safe at the time, doesn’t mean that it won’t become compromised down the road. Proactively monitor your identities’ current passwords to be notified if/when they become compromised and are an elevated risk to the organization. At that time, enroll them in an MFA policy until they can reset it to something safe.

Already have Clever or ClassLink for Classroom Single Sign-On?

K-12 is rich with strong single sign-on solutions that are tailored for the classroom, including Clever and ClassLink. Not only does Identity Automation offer a suite of authentication capabilities, we can work with your classroom single sign-on provider to integrate digital identity management into your ecosystem to ensure that your district receives the best classroom experience with the most secure environment possible.

We believe one should not be sacrificed to achieve the other. All districts need both. That’s what Identity Automation can help you deliver. 

That’s also why we partnered with Clever, with whom we provide an integrated experience that offers K-12 districts identity management that is fully integrated into the Clever platform. If you already have a classroom single sign-on provider, Identity Automation can still help you improve your security posture and classroom experience.  

Districts Who Use Digital Identities Today

These are just a few select districts that safeguard their learning environments by putting digital identities at the center of their technology strategy with RapidIdentity Cloud hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS):

Go Beyond Login Syncing with Digital Identity Management

As you can clearly see, true identity management offers far more than simple login syncing, which is more of a user experience benefit than a security enhancement. Whether you do or don't have single sign-on, ClassLink, or Clever today, we can easily integrate our identity management solution, RapidIdentity, into your ecosystem.

Download the eBook to learn how digital identity management can help your district improve your learning experience and heighten your cybersecurity posture.

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