Can cybersecurity make or break the college experience? Here's why access management plays a critical role.

3 reasons access management has a place on campus

Can cybersecurity make or break the college experience? Here's why access management plays a critical role

Those digital identities are a prime target for cyber criminals: If they can access user credentials, they hold the key to invaluable data and assets.

One thing most colleges don’t have is resources to adequately field today’s myriad requirements while operating a patchwork of legacy IT. Small IT support staffs wear multiple hats, leaving little time to advocate for investment in technologies such as open-source tools, cloud capabilities and advanced network analytics.

The good news is that instituting better cybersecurity on college campuses doesn’t have to be an expensive, all-encompassing endeavor. The right solution can integrate and manage a variety of components and applications. Campus cybersecurity then can be executed through a centralized system that automates and streamlines account provisioning, credentialing, authentication, access management and cloud migration, among other functions. And perhaps even better, centralized security employing multi-factor authentication spells the end of the password-reset cycle of frustration.

The case for access management on campus

There’s a veritable sea of cybersecurity solutions out there proclaiming to fortify IT infrastructure, secure the edge, scrutinize network activity through big data analytics and machine learning, and much more. It’s true that many of them can do those things. But if budget is limited, if wholesale modernization isn’t feasible, or if some solutions simply cannot support the complexity of a diverse, always-changing user base that’s subject to an array of evolving federal regulations—then what?

The reality is that a single access platform that cohesively manages users and applications makes it possible to modernize and secure IT, and improve functionality, without widespread disruption. More than possible, for colleges worldwide, it’s imperative. Here’s why:

1. It mitigates the weakest link in cybersecurity: human error. Automated identity and access management tools enforce preventive measures by providing the foundation for a Zero Trust framework and integrating strong authentication across services. These solutions also provide network visibility and monitoring beyond human capability and can respond at machine speed to threats or anomalous activity. And when technology is secure, streamlined and functioning harmoniously, it accelerates learning and productivity.

2. It makes for better business. Today technology is a major driver in college choice: According to a report from the National Center for Higher Education, 85 percent of higher-ed leaders say technology can be used to attract and retain students, and 68 percent of students factored technology and/or IT infrastructure into their school choice. As the higher ed landscape becomes more globally competitive, colleges must uphold their edge, which means maintaining top-tier IT security while also seamlessly connecting with students from their pre-applications to their alumni experiences.

3. It safeguards college communities amid worldwide cybersecurity struggles. In the end, integrated security is perhaps the bottom line—a breach of diverse, critically-sensitive data risks the longest-lasting repercussions. This includes personally identifiable information—Social Security numbers, financial data, health records—as well as the priceless intellectual property found at any college, especially those engaged in research and development.

In today’s hyper-connected world, instituting comprehensive cybersecurity across huge swaths of users can be a daunting task. But the truth is it’s an essential journey, and the right solutions work in tandem to meet the distinctive, evolving needs of today’s college experience. Education is not only a massive investment, it’s an experience that’s carried along for life—why leave its impact to chance?

eSchool Media Contributors