Cobb County School District

Cobb County School District used Identity Manager to automate identity management, saving two months of manual effort and an estimated $150,000 per year.


"Our NetIQ solution has paid for itself in no time. We avoided hiring costly temporary workers to create and update user accounts at the start of the school year, and for the first time in County history we had all registered students in our identity infrastructure before school started."Chris RagsdaleChief Technology Officer, Cobb County School District

About Cobb County School District

The Cobb County School District, located in north metro Atlanta, is the second-largest school system in Georgia with over 107,000 students, 18,000 staff and 113 schools.

Challenge

The Cobb County School District, located in north metro Atlanta, is the second-largest school system in Georgia with over 107,000 students, 18,000 staff and 113 schools.

Managing identities is also a challenge for the district as user information is stored in a variety of applications, across multiple operating systems. The district needed to automate the user management its enterprise to simplify user administration and reduce unnecessary IT costs.

Our Solution

Cobb County School District tested several identity management solutions before selecting Identity Manager to automate user provisioning and synchronize user information across its enterprise. The district also selected Storage Manager to provide its students, teachers and staff with identity-based storage capabilities.

"NetIQ (now a part of Micro Focus) provided the most robust identity management offering," said Chris Ragsdale, chief technology officer of Cobb County School District. "The NetIQ solution can be integrated with more applications, without being limited to a single operating system. That flexibility is important in our environment with NetWare®, Microsoft Windows, Linux and Macintosh platforms."

Using Identity Manager, the district is integrating user identities across multiple applications and directories including its student information system, NetIQ  eDirectory™, GroupWise®, Oracle and SQL databases, Remedy, and Mac Open LDAP. Identity Manager automatically synchronizes user information across connected systems, eliminating the need for manual updating.

"With Identity Manager, we can automatically provide a new user with access to all of the appropriate systems within 24 hours of the time they are entered into our HR system," said Herb Ague, director of Network Services at the Cobb County School District. "In the past, this could take weeks. We can also automatically deprovision users without any manual effort."

Students now receive a single ID and password to access e-mail and other applications, and staff no longer need to remember as many as ten different passwords. In the past, one administrator at each school spent the first two weeks of the school year resetting passwords for students who stood in line during class breaks. The password self-service feature of Identity Manager now makes it easy for students and staff to reset passwords on their own.

"Reducing the number of passwords users are required to remember, as well as providing self-service to reset them, has made a huge difference to our students and staff," said Ragsdale. "Better password management also improves our ability to protect student information and comply with privacy requirements such as FERPA and HIPAA."

With Storage Manager, the IT staff can automatically create file storage for users based on their user information stored in NetIQ eDirectory. When a student moves grades, or a teacher transfers to another site, they can continue to access their data. Students can access their e-portfolio from grade school to graduation.

"We are running the NetIQ (now a part of Micro Focus) identity management solution on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server and the performance has been great," said Ague.

The district worked with the consulting services to implement our solution, and also took advantage of customized on-site training.

"The consulting services helped us work with all our stakeholders to ensure the success of this project," said Ragsdale. "They really helped get everyone on board. We also appreciated the professionalism of NetIQ's world-class training staff that brought everything you could imagine to create an on-site training facility."

Moving forward, the district plans to integrate more applications and provide parents with secure access to student grades and other information.

Results

With Identity Manager, Cobb County School District has reduced user provisioning time from more than two months, to less than 24 hours. The district has eliminated all manual work associated with user administration, saving an estimated $150,000 per year, and can automatically provision users in minutes, rather than months.

The district plans to reduce the number of passwords its staff is required to remember by 50 percent this year. Implementing password self-service has eliminated nearly 400 hours of password-related helpdesk calls a month.

"Our NetIQ solution has paid for itself in no time," said Ragsdale. "We avoided hiring costly temporary workers to create and update user accounts at the start of the school year, and for the first time in County history we had all registered students in our identity infrastructure before school started."

Education

United StatesNorth America

  • Saving an estimated US$150,000 per year
  • Eliminated all manual work associated with user administration

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