Single Sign-On Provides Secure And Accessible Solutions

How the convergence of user authentication and higher ed is changing applications

Universities need to be able to trust that the users logging in are, in fact, who they say they are.  Meanwhile, users seek a simple registration process.

With evolving security threats and new regulations, it’s more important than ever to provide a comprehensive sign-on solution. This balance between authentication and convenience has led to the need for better-unified solutions in online application platforms.


Single Sign On (SSO)

Orchestrate takes advantage of a number SAMLsystems across a multitude of applications.

One such authentication standard, dubbed Shibboleth, is used by Universities around the country for user authentication.  It allows for ease-of-use for all parties involved.  The Shibboleth Consortium has created this standard to unify the tools available for all universities.


The Need For & Advantages of Single Sign On

This movement to single sign on has given applicants and universities alike a number of advantages.

Here are just a few:

Better Collaboration & Data Sharing

Once a user signs on with their own university sign on, data sharing begins. Each university can manage the attributes shared for each application.

This opens up the possibility for applications to autofill student information upon login. Universities can share a number of data points like GPA, enrollment history, etc. And not only that, but the information is now validated by the incoming university. So universities know that the information coming from the student is 100% factual.  This has the potential to remove yet another step from the approval process.


Enhanced Security

Your sign in may be secure but what about the hundreds of other sites the applicant uses? 

Students now have a single login to manage.  This means one password to remember.  This opens up your application system to security concerns. If another site account the applicant is using gets hacked, their password could be leaked.

Most applicants will use the same password for all of their logins. This makes it less likely to need to recover your password.  Without the need for another password recovery plan, students are less likely to have to deal with data theft.

For application administrators, they gain the trust that the user is who they say they are.  By validating through a trusted university, the administrator has another line of defense against user fraud.

Many students, when they cannot remember their passwords, will simply create a new account.  With single sign-on, duplicate accounts are practically non-existent.

Better Permission & Data Management

With single sign-on, a validated applicant can be granted permissions or access relevant to their application status.

This “smart application” feature allows for eligibility filters to be put in place by the University. Utilizing data attributes, shared via Shibboleth, Orchestrate is able to quickly determine what applications a student is able to fill out.

For instance, a student registered in the STEM field would see all available opportunities open to them based on their status.

It saves students time because returning student data is linked to their university login. There is much less data for the student to enter each year that they are in the system.

It also helps administrators filter out invalid applicants without a lengthy vetting process.

Orchestrate and Shibboleth Implementations

Orchestrate takes advantage of Shibboleth with a number of our university applications.  This includes Rutgers, Stanford, and most recently, the University of California.

Working with the universities, the Orchestrate Application Platform allows users to login with any approved university credential. This creates a unified sign-in across the university’s campuses through the student’s own university login.

This gives University IT departments peace of mind that student data and privacy are protected since validation is run through their system.

A Bright Future

With Orchestrate and single sign-on solutions like Shibboleth, the future is bright for usability and security. When you use a platform like Orchestrate you get a secure application process you can trust.

Data sharing and security are important to each party involved. And the addition of single sign-on is yet another way Orchestrate works to streamline your application process.

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