Identifying Authentication Challenges in Education: A look within our clients

Apple on keyboard

Recently, while looking through our customer base, we noticed a very interesting trend within our post-secondary education clients. Once we recognized this trend, we wanted to take a moment and identify this top issue and look at some of the reasons why this could be so?

We identified that the most common hurdle that our clients are facing within the education industry is account lockouts, a.k.a. self-service password reset (SSPR).

When looking at the grand scheme of things, this is not really a surprise.  Schools have a large number of users that are vastly made up of students that have many things on their minds; surely, they will lock themselves out of their account at one point. Add to the mix of faculty and staff, some of which may be adjunct or part-time employees of the college or university, and you have quite the cocktail of end-users. One more piece to add to this puzzle is new students, both freshmen and transfer students that are trying to remember all of the before mentioned things and learn a new campus.

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When looking at this breakdown of some of the list of possibilities above, the picture becomes a little clearer of why SSPR would be top of the charts. Without a SSPR solution set in place, this could mean an influx of Help Desk calls to unlock the students and faculty’s accounts. This would bog down the phone lines and prevent other, more important tech issues from being solved.

Also, think about it from a cost perspective.

At the start of any semester, there would be a large number of calls placed to the Help Desk to assist in unlocking the accounts. For the school, that means that there may be a need to have extra staff on hand to cover these simple calls. But adding extra staff is not as simple as it sounds: the extra staff costs the college wages, extra training, and the cost of extra equipment needed for them to do their jobs. All of those extras can add up in a hurry!

At the end of the day, PortalGuard understands this is a pain point for the education industry and has provided affordable solutions to help reduce Help Desk calls and also provide strong authentication security on the backend.

Unprecedented Customer Support

Recently PistolStar went on-site with a current prospect to help with the implementation of the Password Power 8 Notes ID Plug-in. PistolStar’s technical team helped deploy multiple seats of the Notes ID Plug-in which will enable the prospect to:

– Authenticate users against Active Directory
– One password for user to remember
– Uniform AD password policies for security/compliance
– Reduce Help Desk calls and shorten length with just AD password reset
– Achieve true Single Sign-On Seamless real-time access after forgotten password

And much more….

Below you can take a look at our Senior Software Engineer, Larry Conroy, providing support to the IT staff on premise. Overall PistolStar’s goal is to provide unprecedented support to our prospects and customers. Whether it is over the phone or on-site all cases are handled with care to make sure that an exact fit with the customer’s requirements is created.

Tales of Tailored Authentication

We’ve found that over 25% of our customer engagements involve making adaptations to Password Power, our authentication software framework. Many organizations need to implement an authentication system that fits tightly with their environment, meets their specific security and compliance requirements and addresses their unique complexities. We’re focused on getting the word out about our flexibility to deliver a tailored authentication solution for our customers and have the case studies to demonstrate it!

We recently issued a press release on the tailored authentication solution we installed for the German military. This press release was featured on numerous media sites, including Investor’s Business Daily.

The German military needed to enhance security and enable self-service password recovery for its 140,000 users. Full details on this will be in a soon-to-be published case study; however, you can find more information on this customer engagement as well as our other tailored authentication deployments in our newsletter, the Technical Journal for Password Management. Issue Q4 2008 showcases six case studies in tailored authentication, each involving different authentication technologies, such as smart cards and government CAC cards, different platforms, and different issues, such as reducing logins to diverse applications and increasing access control.