Manage the access to school's information systems
The Northern Lights School Division covers most provincial schools in Northern Saskatchewan. After migrating all students and teachers at all the schools to unique, individual accounts; some of the dangers and inconvenience that came from using generic shared accounts, were still very much present.
Old habits meant teachers would share their own unique credentials with the whole class to access resources. Students would be sharing their credentials with friends who had forgotten their own passwords. Forgotten sessions were also being left open on workstations around the school, so users were then being locked out.
“It continued to be a management and security nightmare.” said Martin Green, IT Manager at Northern Lights. Students continued to have access to teachers’ documents or risked deleting other student’s work.
Monitor & administrate the use of student accounts
Being a small IT team that centrally managed 5000 users, over 365,000 square kilometers, automation was going to be vital. They needed visibility into the use of all user accounts and a way to enforce how students (and teachers) used them.
UserLock proved to be “the only software that would do exactly what I was looking for.” It offers real-time visibility into all access events (logon, logoff, lock, unlock, logon denied) and automated access controls on who could logon, to what machine and for how long.
Deployment was practically instant and very simple. “It was one of the easiest deployments that we’ve ever done.” The IT team first ran UserLock with no access rules or restrictions to observe how students and teachers were using (and abusing) their new unique login credentials.
This quickly established the need to limit the number of simultaneous user sessions. It proves an effective way to motivate students to stop password sharing and to logoff existing sessions when finished- otherwise their own access is directly impacted.
To account for ‘human behavior’ and stop users from being locked out, UserLock can send a notification that allows a user themselves to close any existing sessions from a new login attempt. This appealed to the school administrators who wanted to avoid a large number of support calls from students who were locked out.
To further help manage user sessions, UserLock was set to automatically logoff any session after a specific idle time.
Further granular controls were also placed on accounts that were being used in public access facilities, such as libraries, that are also located on the school’s site. Access from these more generic accounts were restricted to work only on a specific computer(s) and during certain opening hours.
Easy student access with IT fully in control
UserLock provided the visibility and enforcement that was needed for each school to benefit from the move to unique user accounts. Students and teachers can quickly get access to the resources they need, but in a way that allows IT to be fully in control. Forgotten sessions and shared credentials are now managed so unauthorized access to resources is no longer an issue.
Automated login controls ensure that the IT team aren’t inundated with more work. When students or teachers are in contact with problems, UserLock is used as a trouble shooting tool. Direct from the UserLock console, an administrator can establish all session activity – including unsuccessful login attempts – and interact remotely to help the user.
Martin said: “The tool is great for the education sector. The web console is uncluttered and easy to work with remotely. I’ve already recommended UserLock to other schools in the area.”