Security Inside Out Edition
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Higher Education Earns High Marks for Data Security and Identity Management

At higher education institutions, students, alumni, faculty, and staff increasingly rely on high-tech tools to study, work, and play. But these technological advancements come with their own security challenges, especially given the highly personal nature of student data—and the constant churn in the student population.

It's not just sensitive data that may be at risk—it's also the institution's brand. As a result, more higher education institutions, including Educational Testing Service (ETS), are increasing their security measures.

Educational Testing Service: Securing Data and Identities
ETS develops, administers, and scores more than 50 million tests annually—including the SAT, TOEFL, and GRE general and subject tests. Securing all those test-takers' data and managing the identities of each client presents an enormous challenge, especially as compliance rules tighten.

"We had to respond to external regulatory compliance issues, we had to do it quickly without changing tools, and we didn't want to impact our performance," explains Brad Peiffer, director of IT, ETS.

To do so, ETS implemented Oracle Advanced Security with transparent data encryption, which helps secure personally identifiable information, including social security and credit card numbers, in order to comply with regulatory mandates that call for the encryption of sensitive data. In addition to encrypting data, Oracle Advanced Security also met the organization's two other key requirements: no application changes or impact to performance overhead. By implementing transparent data encryption, ETS did not have to make changes to application code and experienced negligible performance overhead, saving the organization time and money.

To effectively manage client identities, ETS also needed an extremely efficient user administration tool for quick and automated provisioning and automated access revocation, plus a simplified user interface for administration, login, and service requests. Moreover, the solution also had to support identity federation with other service providers.

Ultimately, ETS chose the platform approach with Oracle's Identity Management solutions—including Oracle Identity Manager, Oracle Access Manager, and Oracle Identity Federation, all working in concert to help meet those goals while delivering the necessary scalability for millions of users.

Platform Approach: Identity Management the Smart Way
Along with ETS, other higher educational institutions such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Melbourne University, are adopting the comprehensive, platform approach of Oracle Identity Management.

"Oracle Identity Management is a highly scalable, proven solution, and as a comprehensive platform, it delivers much more value than the sum of its parts," says Scott Bonnell, senior director at Oracle. Benefits include
  • End-to-end user lifecycle management
  • Closed-loop remediation
  • Preventive and detective user access administration
  • Seamless single sign-on for students and staff
  • An all-in-one directory for storage, proxy, synchronization, and virtualization
“With new hires and departing employees, there would often be a delay providing or removing access to critical business system, which damaged employee productivity and exposed us to risk," says Eric Fisher, director, middleware and Web services, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "By automating the provisioning of user accounts with Oracle Identity Management, we will be able to reduce costs and provide our employees secure access to the information and applications they need to do their jobs better and more efficiently.”

Virtually all colleges and universities must manage constantly changing, highly sensitive personal information, while still providing quick, accurate access for students, staff, and administration—often with huge spikes in demand. Learn more about how Oracle Database Security and Oracle Identity Management can help higher educational organizations meet their security and identity management goals.

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