More With Less: IAM Automation Eases Higher Education Budget Hurdles

Bruce Macdonald

April 14, 2021

Although cyberattacks continue to be on the rise in higher education, many colleges and universities are still working with limited budgets to protect against this increase in threat. In fact, according to a 2020 survey by IDG, on average education leaders are devoting only 20% of their IT budgets to cybersecurity. Within Hitachi ID’s recent poll, conducted by Pulse, 100% of the 100 higher ed leaders validated this point and identified budget as a barrier to completely automating identity and access management (IAM) processes. 

With limited resources to work with, it’s easy to see why colleges and universities would see automation as a potential budget buster as the implementation can be a significant investment both in time and money. However, in the long run, IAM automation helps schools make the most of tight budgets, making it well worth the initial investment.

Save Your Team’s Time

When we asked IT leaders in higher education what IAM automation benefits excited them the most, their answers included things like simplified workflows, reallocating resources to strategic initiatives, and streamlining processes. Translation? Saving time.

Managing IAM manually is an enormous drain on resources for many colleges and universities. By automating time-consuming tasks schools are not only making IAM processes more efficient, they are optimizing their team, freeing them up for more strategic and innovative projects and making the most of their time and skill sets.

Cut Down Human Error

What’s the one system vulnerability that all organizations have in common? Their users. Nearly all breaches are in some way connected to human error. Automation can’t completely eliminate that risk, but it can minimize the opportunities for user mistakes. 

This is an especially important piece of the puzzle as more schools set their sites on a Zero Trust model, which is built on not automatically trusting anything inside or outside the system. Automating critical pieces of IAM such as permissions granting and other onboarding and offboarding processes can eliminate the chance for mistakes, sparing schools the headaches (not to mention unexpected expenses) that often follow.

Maintain Compliance

Many universities spend a lot of time and money on certification and governance initiatives. In short, ensuring the right people have the right access at the right time. While achieving such a panacea is a truly enormous task, without automation measures in effect, that pristine state will not last. IAM automation strategies help to ensure that rights are assigned - and removed - promptly. Predictive analysis of a user’s needs can help reduce the number of requests being generated and an efficient workflow engine ensures that those requiring approval are provisioned in a timely manner.

Get Ahead of Threats

While no system is unbreachable, schools can protect themselves against threats by staying a step ahead with IAM automation. Removing many manual tasks from the mix, schools are able to shift cybersecurity strategies from reactive to proactive (an automation benefit that almost two-thirds of the higher ed leaders were anticipating).

Predictive technology, like Hitachi ID Bravura Discover, can further fortify these efforts with the fastest, most accurate in-depth risk and threat assessment, plus resolution recommendations. By avoiding vulnerabilities in the first place, colleges and universities save time and money allowing their limited resources to stretch further.

Make the Most of Tight Cybersecurity Budgets

While schools certainly need to have a conversation about prioritizing cybersecurity within their IT budgets, IAM automation can help higher ed IT teams bridge the budget gap by accomplishing more with less in the meantime. 

See the full results of our survey and learn more about IAM automation challenges and benefits for higher education in our free resource: Higher Education IT Leaders Are Looking to Complement Access Governance With Automation.

Click Here to Download the Results