University Business - May 2012 - (Page 39)

Goes There? ID management policies and best practices odern technology has a lot of upsides. On the downside is the fact that you need an ID and password to access most of it. Keeping your own logins straight is hard enough; keeping them straight for thousands of people on a college campus is even harder. Everyone is doing basic identity management, says Rodney J. Petersen, managing director of the Washington office and senior government relations officer for Educause. “Anyone who has logins does it.” The challenge is managing those accounts efficiently. The trend is toward single sign-on and moving IdM out of individual applications to a single source—goals most higher ed institutions haven’t met, Peterson notes. “Generally speaking, it’s not surprising that the places that have the most advanced practices are large research universities. They’ve been working on it long and hard. The campuses that have a long way to go are smaller colleges, and particularly two-years.” For community colleges, the usual challenges of limited resources, a wide reaching mission, and a transient population rear their heads. “I think the turnover does add difficulty because there is more churn and a faster pace of change in the constituents,” says Bill Thompson, principal architect of identity access management for Unicon, an IT consulting services firm. IdM is one of those tasks campus leaders leave on the back burner until a compelling business reason tips the Who By Ann McClure M scales. The need to “deliver consistent and seamless access to many applications to enrich the learner’s experience” and the reality of complying with regulations such as FERPA spurred Cappella University leaders to get the Lighthouse Gateway solution for their IdM needs, says Maria Schuett, the online institution’s identity and access management architect. “Identity management is about managing the lifecycles of users,” says Eric Maass, CTO at Lighthouse Security Group, the company behind that product. It touches everyone on campus from students enrolling to graduating and everything in between and faculty and staff being hired and promoted. The challenge is getting the pertinent information out of the HR system or SIS into the other systems that need it. Also, should users manage their own passwords and profile information? Petersen says IdM should ideally be handled by an “enterprise directory” independent of other systems. In reality, new applications, each requiring authentication, are stacked. “We’re maintaining the problem,” he says. “It’s a policy as well as process issue.” > Resource and Security Drain Poor IdM can affect IT staff resources and efficiency, security, and service. “Server space is the least of your problems,” asserts Idan Shoham, CTO of Hitachi ID Systems. “Disc [space] is cheap. If that were it, no one would care.” They do care about adding (or removing) a semester’s worth of students in a short time frame on a regular basis. Missed deadlines mean service disruptions and overtime that goes into processing new students over the weekend. While the large volume of changes bookending semesters up the ante, IdM is a year-round task. At Montgomery College (Md.), “it’s a continual process to keep [data] current as names and job functions change,” says Andrew Scheppler, lead technical manager. “It’s pretty much a manual process, and if anyone needs access to different functions they call us. And naturally, people call and tell us they need things but not that they no longer need them. That becomes a security concern.” Since the college currently provides system IDs only to faculty and staff, another concern is the default user account used on student computers in classrooms and labs. “If there is a computer that isn’t well monitored and someone starts doing inappropriate or illegal activity, there is no way to know who it is,” Scheppler shares. “There is always a concern that if we ever get a call from a company or law enforcement there isn’t May 2012 | 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - May 2012

University Business - May 2012
Editor's Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Human Resources
Education Gateways
Big Ideas
Reaching Higher
Admissions Goes Social
Learning Disabled Students Welcome
Who Goes There?
Computing Trends, Today and Tomorrow
Money Matters
End Note

University Business - May 2012