Higher Education Deserves Higher Value Identity Security 

Higher education and identity security

Identity security is a major challenge for higher education institutions. Colleges and universities are responsible for managing the seamless yet compliant access to data for students, faculty, staff, and alumni, which includes sensitive data such as social security numbers, financial information, health records, and academic records.  

Whether staff or student, those in higher education have enough on their plate without adding identity security to the pile. At Regatta, our mission is to ensure easy access to data, regulatory compliance, and top notch network security—so that students and staff can focus on more pressing matters (like educating our next set of world leaders!). 

In this blog post, we will explore the identity security challenges that universities face and discuss best practices for addressing them.

Challenge #1: Data breaches

Universities collect and store vast amounts of sensitive information, which makes them attractive targets for cybercriminals. Data breaches can occur through a variety of means, including phishing attacks, malware, and hacking. When a data breach occurs, the personal information of students, faculty, staff, and alumni can be exposed, putting their identities at risk. 

Challenge #2: Complex user roles and access levels

Universities often have complex organizational structures with different roles and access levels for users. This can include students, faculty, staff, and external partners, each with their own set of access requirements. Managing these different access levels and roles can be a challenging and time-consuming process.

Challenge #3: Manual provisioning processes

Many universities still rely on manual processes for user provisioning. This can lead to delays, errors, and inconsistencies in access management. For example, a new employee may not be granted access to the necessary systems and resources in a timely manner, leading to inefficiencies and frustration. The new students attending the college every semester requires a herculean effort to onboard all those new accounts while being sure to deprovisioning those who are leaving the university once the semester is over.

Challenge #4: Lack of centralized identity management

Without centralized identity management, it can be difficult to manage access across multiple systems and applications. This usually results in security gaps, inconsistent access policies, and difficulty in tracking user activity.

Challenge #5: Maintaining compliance with regulations

Higher education institutions are subject to a variety of regulations related to data privacy and security, including FERPA, HIPAA, and GDPR. Compliance with these regulations can be a complex and ongoing challenge, particularly when managing user access to sensitive data.

Challenge #6: Balancing security and convenience

Higher education institutions must balance the need for security with the desire for convenience and ease of access. This can be particularly challenging in environments where eager students and new teaching staff need immediate access to systems and resources.

Best Practices for Addressing Identity Security Challenges

Identity security is critical for universities, but it can also be a complex and costly process. Here are some ways universities can improve productivity and reduce costs when managing identity security:

Implement automation and self-service options

Automating identity management processes and implementing self-service options can reduce the workload on IT teams and improve efficiency. For example, users can be given the ability to reset their own passwords, reducing the number of help desk requests. Automation can also help to ensure that access is granted and revoked in a timely manner, reducing the risk of security breaches.

Use cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based identity governance and identity security solutions, like SailPoint, can provide universities with a cost-effective alternative to on-premises solutions. Cloud-based solutions can also offer scalability and flexibility, allowing universities to adjust their identity management needs as they grow or change. [Learn more in this blog: moving identity to the cloud.]

Leverage identity analytics

Identity analytics can provide universities with insights into user activity and access patterns, helping to identify potential security risks or inefficiencies in access management. This can help to reduce the workload on IT teams and improve security by detecting and addressing potential security issues proactively.  

Use a unified identity platform

Using a unified identity platform can help universities to streamline identity management processes and reduce costs. A unified platform can provide a single source of truth for user identities and access, simplifying the process of managing and maintaining access across multiple systems and applications.

Conduct regular reviews and audits

Regular reviews and audits of identity and access management processes can help to identify inefficiencies, improve security, and reduce costs. Access reviews can help to identify areas where automation or self-service options could be implemented, or where access can be streamlined to reduce costs. New AI-based identity security from SailPoint can also help universities to be proactive in discovery, management and control efforts around identity governance.

Why Regatta?

When you implement SailPoint, you join a roster of universities who’ve recognized the essentialness of identity security in higher education. While the benefits are easy to see, we recognize that implementing higher level security might not be as simple. 

Thankfully, with Regatta, deploying time-saving, game-changing identity security solutions is a cinch. As a SailPoint-only implementation partner, our sole focus is helping SailPoint customers maximize their investment, defend against data breaches, and automate for a more efficient future. 

You don’t need the resources of an ivy league to benefit from all SailPoint has to offer. Regatta lives by a step-by-step approach to crafting and implementing a unique identity strategy for every business. No matter your goal, our team of dedicated identity experts is ready to see it to fruition. 

Request a free strategy call today to fast track your university’s identity security success. 

Navigate a Winning Identity Strategy

Securing the enterprise goes beyond selecting the software. Talk to the SailPoint experts at Regatta to discuss your personalized roadmap for a successful identity program.