My Epiphany at Brainstorm 16.0


Last week I was in Wisconsin attending the BrainStorm 16.0 conference where I had an epiphany:

Identity management was originally developed to help organizations either adhere to external compliance concerns, such as HIPAA or SOX, or internal governance concerns like process controls. The net result of these concerns was automating processes to force compliance. Technically speaking, automation then became a side effect of compliance.

In education, however, the initial concern was not governance, but rather the bulk management of massive environments. A school’s entrypoint to identity management had always started with automation.

At Brainstorm 16.0, I realized that schools are now more and more concerned with ensuring appropriate student/teacher access to systems and programs, which, ironically, is actually the old way of seeing identity management.



Student privacy was perhaps the biggest topic of discussion at Brainstorm, much more so than I’ve seen at past conferences. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and overall right to privacy were topics that were emphasized throughout the conference.

At what point does security intrude on the privacy rights of students? It’s an important issue to think about and one that we’ll be discussing more in the future.



From our perspective of identity management technology, I found that most school districts I spoke with went about implementing a solution in one of two ways:

They built complex, custom scripts that would approximate an identity management solution.


They purchased a platform that was overly complex, difficult to implement and painful to manage.

That unfortunate reality allowed me to have some fruitful discussions about how identity management solutions should work and how we’ve built ours here at Identity Automation. Hint - ours doesn’t simply approximate a solution; and it certainly isn’t complex, difficult or painful to deploy.


Though it was cold outside, I had a great time inside at the Brainstorm 16.0 conference. It was a productive, interesting and educational three days. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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