Educational institutions face the daunting task of striking the perfect balance between seemingly competing needs within the academic setting. On one hand, schools must deliver secure access to a variety of on-premises and cloud-based information systems for a user population that is extremely dynamic, transient and diverse in their access requirements. Conversely, the culture of educational institutions is traditionally synonymous with maintaining open collaboration. This juxtaposition creates a challenging IT environment.
IT Risks and Challenges for Higher Education
Educational institutions are a one-stop shop for some of the most sensitive data, including PHI, PCI, and PII. For this reason, data breaches of educational institutions are third most common among various industries – superseded by only healthcare and financial sectors.
What Makes Securing Access Particularly Difficult for IT in Higher Education?
- Dynamic User Population and Needs: In higher education, IT administrators and data stewards must provide timely provisioning and deprovisioning for thousands of users between academic sessions. The workforce is also diverse. Separate from the tenured faculty, the workforce of many colleges and universities tend to consist heavily of part-time staff that may change jobs more frequently – thus requiring capabilities to govern their information access.
- Regulatory Compliance: Because educational institutions possess and manage PII, PCI and PHI, they must maintain compliance with a host of regulations, including HIPAA, FERPA, GDPR, etc.
- Mobile Devices: While mobility expands use cases for how and where people learn and consume information, it also creates more access points and thus risks.
- Data Analytics: Educational institutions are increasingly leveraging data to drive retention and student success, and to develop educational plans. However, with more data comes greater risks that come from unintended exposure of sensitive information.
- Heterogeneous Applications: Within any educational institution, you will find an array of applications deployed for a myriad of users and requirements. This includes open-source, vendor-apps, and “custom-engineered” applications. The diversity creates a challenging environment for IT to securely govern access to these applications.
Identity Brings Balance to the Educational Universe
Modern identity governance platforms are designed to balance the need for security with efficient, responsive and timely access to information to support an open and collaborative culture.
- Improve Access Workflow: Enable self-service access, automated provisioning and deprovisioning, and password sync to drive efficiency and improve access workflow for thousands of students, faculty, staff and other users.
- Mitigate Risk: Ensure users have the right access (based on their roles) to the right systems, applications and data files, whether the resource is located in the cloud or on-premises.
- Effectively Manage Policies: Define and enforce user access policies, create Separation of Duty (SOD) policies based on comparing roles, and enable administrators to compare entitlements between users.
- Improve Compliance: Ensure access is always within corporate policy through prevention and detection controls. Meet compliance demands through streamlined, business-friendly access certification, and automate policy management to boost security through consistent policy enforcement. Also, demonstrate compliance through audit-trail logging and reporting.
- Minimize Complexities: Reduce risk of inconsistent access governance for users that may have multiple personas or roles per identity through best practice approaches. Enable user-friendly, self-service access requests and password resets to reduce workloads and simplify time-consuming tasks.
Why SailPoint Is an Ideal Partner
Recognized by Gartner, Forrester and KuppingerCole as a leading authority in identity governance, SailPoint’s solution enables educational institutions to effectively balance security with an open collaborative culture. We offer the freedom of choice with flexible deployment options to a data center, public cloud, SaaS service or managed service. This allows identity governance to be delivered in a way that best meets infrastructure, staffing and identity program needs.
SailPoint provides cost efficiencies through automated access based on user role within the organization, self-service passwords resets and requests for additional access, and out-of-the-box connectivity to numerous systems and applications. Comprehensive governance gathers and reconciles identity and access information across all applications, file stores and resources, whether on-premises or in the cloud. Centralizes visibility into user access rights and creates a governance foundation for establishing controls over that access.
Preventive measures enable educational institutions to monitor user activity in real time and send alerts when users attempt to access sensitive data or when changes to permissions and groups are performed. Also, dedicated SailPoint customer success managers ensure ongoing training and support and give access to SailPoint’s community of educational institutions to share ideas and best practices.
SailPoint solutions can help your educational institution balance security with maintaining an open collaborative culture. Learn more about Identity and Higher Education.
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