Owens Community College

Every semester, Owens Community College had thousands of users to provision. Also, students wanted simple access to the college’s 200-plus web courses and to the online applications upon which those classes rely. With NetIQ Identity Manager, NetIQ Access Manager and NetIQ SecureLogin, the college may now provision and deprovision in 10 minutes instead of 24 hours, and provide a single sign-on experience to students and faculty while experiencing significant savings in money and staff time.


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“We would have needed at least two more FTEs to manage our environment without the automation we gained from Identity Manager and Access Manager.”Martin StroudDeputy Chief Information Officer, Owens Community College

About Owens Community College

Owens Community College is a fully accredited two-year, state-assisted higher education institution located in northern Ohio. The college offers 130 academic programs for a variety of career paths.

Challenge

With more than 200 online courses, Owens Community College attracts a web-savvy student body. “The better online service we deliver, the more in demand our school becomes,” said Martin Stroud, deputy CIO of Owens Community College. “It’s critical that we deliver technology with maximum ease of use.”

The college needed to simplify the management of user communities. Owens was provisioning and deprovisioning user accounts manually, which took up to 24 hours. The college wanted to provide a single sign-on experience to bring added convenience to students while providing better controls over data in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Owens also wanted to replace its virtual private network (VPN) solution. “We had to distribute client software anytime a user wanted VPN access,” said Stroud. “This was time-consuming for technicians and frustrating to users.”

Our Solution

The college implemented Identity Manager to automate account provisioning. “NetIQ is the leader in identity management,” said Stroud. “Identity Manager makes it very straightforward to integrate applications and automate processes.”

The college then hired Weisberg Consulting, Inc., a PartnerNet Gold Partner, to oversee the solution’s design and implementation. “Weisberg Consulting is one of the foremost experts in the identity management world,” said Stroud. “They greatly simplified our identity management processes.”

“We set out to accelerate students’ access to necessary tools and create efficiencies for IT staff,” said Matt Weisberg, vice president and CIO of Weisberg Consulting, Inc. “We architected a solution where the school’s Banner student information system feeds into Identity Manager, based on user roles, to automate account provisioning and deprovisioning.”

By implementing Access Manager and Secure Login, Weisberg gave students single sign-on access to on-premise software, such as the Ozone portal, and cloud-based applications, such as Google Apps.

Ease of administration was an important factor for adopting the solution. “Implementation is a walk in the park with Access Manager,” said Weisberg. “One of the shining examples of the solution’s ease of use is its menu-based SAML implementation, which is a much better interface than competing products from IBM and Sun. “All access requests are synchronized against a single authentication directory, providing convenience for students and ease of administration for IT staff.”

The college uses the VPN capabilities within Access Manager to give students, faculty and staff the same experience, whether they’re accessing applications on campus or at home. “The NetIQ solution is web-based, so users no longer have to install client software on their computers,” said Stroud. “That’s a huge benefit.”

The scalability of Access Manager has also been extremely beneficial during busy registration times. “Access Manager offers the flexibility of load balancing,” said Stroud. “That’s advantageous for an environment like ours with nearly 100,000 identities. We can dynamically add more resources as needed so students gain the performance they’ve come to expect when they visit our site.”

Results

Using NetIQ solutions, Owens Community College has automated user provisioning and deprovisioning. “We used to spend two weeks each semester administering accounts,” said Stroud. “Now provisioning and deprovisioning is done in just 10 minutes instead of 24 hours.” In addition, students can now authenticate once to access all the applications they need.

The solutions have saved the college huge amounts. “We would have needed at least two more FTEs to manage our environment without the automation we gained from Identity Manager and Access Manager,” said Stroud. “Moreover, students now use the same interface and credentials for all resources. And we have confidence in our ability to safeguard students’ data in compliance with FERPA.”

The college is already planning to extend its use of NetIQ technology. Having authentication, single sign-on and authorization capabilities within a single solution makes it easy to incorporate new applications. “There are hundreds of academic web-based applications we’d like to enable single sign-on for,” said Stroud. “Moving forward, we can tie these into our existing authentication schema to meet the ever changing needs of our students.”

Education

United StatesNorth America

  • Reduced provisioning and deprovisioning from 24 hours to 10 minutes
  • Minimized labor costs associated with user management
  • Increased security and compliance with FERPA

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