Future-Proof Your Identity Governance Against Cyberattacks

Modernize Your Higher Education Identity and Privileged Access Program

What Is Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

IAM is a cybersecurity capability that includes the policies and technologies needed for managing digital identities — the collections of policies and procedures that identify individual users and determine access permissions.

Managing these policies helps prevent users from gaining access to resources above their level, which reduces the risk of insider threats and prevents external bad actors from breaking into your system.

The Role of IAM in Higher Education Cybersecurity

IAM is essential for protecting sensitive information from malicious actors both inside and outside your institution. Here are some of the ways it helps.

It Protects Sensitive Data

Institutions manage enormous quantities of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from students, faculty and staff — an attractive prize for cybercriminals. So when someone logs on to your system, you need to make sure they are who they say they are.

While managing digital identities is essential for safeguarding this information, higher education institutions face unique obstacles such as:

  • InCommon Federated Identity: Students, employees and other affiliates can use a single digital identity, such as User Name and Password, to access all resources to which they are entitled across multiple institutions. This creates unique challenges when an identity is compromised. Many institutions lack a comprehensive view that enables them to easily disable compromised access. 
  • Complex user affiliations: Students may also be employees and vice versa. Robust IAM software solutions for higher education must adapt to these fluid roles to support an accurate security context.
  • Lost credentials: The costs associated with replacing lost ID cards go beyond printing a new one. Digital solutions can help lessen these expenses and conform to changing student expectations.
  • Complex systems of record (SOR): Combining the significant number of students today's institutions serve with faculty, department staff and alums means managing and securing a more extensive database than ever before. Student Information Systems (SIS), Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) and many more custom and legacy systems may not be integrated, adding to the complexity.  

With our innovative IAM services for higher education, your institution opens secure campus-wide access for everyone. Bravura Security Fabric combines features like password and passwordless management, digital identity administration, threat detection and privileged access in one holistic security solution. It's the only IAM software that merges all of these tools into one platform.

It Mitigates Cybersecurity Threats

According to Verizon's Data Breach Incident Report for 2023, the top three biggest threats higher education institutions face are phishing, ransomware and insider threats.

In recent years, cybercriminals have changed their approach to attacking higher education institutions. So while universities have focused on protecting against ransomware specifically, attackers have put their time and energy into other attack vectors. IAM programs need to establish fundamentals like authentication, authorization, provisioning, de-provisioning and certification. When you have highly privileged needs, you can implement just-in-time access controls to grant the right people with the right level of access using Bravura Privilege. With Bravura Privilege, you can restrict access to sensitive information and network resources.

Bravura Security Fabric, including Identity and Privilege, are used to implement the foundations of Access Controls including:

  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Access is granted based on user roles, ensuring your university president gets different permissions from your students and faculty. 
  • Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC): Access is granted based on user characteristics rather than roles, such as the department they belong to and the resource type they need to access.
  • Policy-Based Access Control (PBAC): PBAC grants access entitlements to sensitive business data based on a set of policies or regulations. These policies evaluate an individual's company role, rank, location and other details.
  • Relationship-Based Access Control (RBAC): RBAC limits network access based on individual members' affiliations within an institution.

Identity Lifecycle Management Can Help

Identity Lifecycle Management (ILM), or Joiner-Mover-Leaver (JML), is a strategy that manages user identities through their entire life cycle, from user provisioning to de-provisioning. Whether it's a faculty member joining your institution or a student completing their education, an ILM platform like Bravura Security Fabric simplifies identity management.

Bravura Security Fabric gives you the tools you need to holistically create and manage IDs, even for hundreds or thousands of users:

  • Student identity management: Bravura Security Fabric gives you the tools you need to create and manage fluid IDs all from one streamlined platform. Support learning endeavors with student-based access to materials, then transition to employee-level access for working hours.
  • Faculty identity management: More higher education institutions are turning to adjuncts and visiting professors to meet critical teaching and budget needs. Bravura Security Fabric is entirely scalable, so you have the option to quickly add and retire credentials for as many users as needed.
  • Alumni identity management: Bravura Security Fabric prepares you to support randomized passwords from an encrypted vault and a user-friendly Single Sign-On (SSO) experience so your alumni can help your institution carry out its mission from anywhere. Shielding these sign-ons with automation reduces your risk of credential abuse.
  • Service Account Management: Service accounts are privileged accounts that operating systems use to run different applications, networks, databases and other resources. These accounts assign identities and permissions to computer programs that perform specialized tasks. Bravura Security Fabric simplifies service account management logistics across your workforce.
  • Administrative Identity Management: Bravura Security Fabric lets you easily manage administrative identity and privilege access across your higher education institution. It ensures all users have the appropriate access to technology resources.
  • Vendor or Supplier Identity Management: Manage your institution's vendors and their access to sensitive information with Bravura Security Fabric.
  • AI Identity Management: In the near-term future there will be a growing need to manage provisioning and de-provisioning AI identities.

It Simplifies Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Higher education institutions must follow strict standards and regulations that govern how they manage their data, including:

  • FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act gives students the right to request access and amendments to educational records.
  • HIPAA: Any institution handling health information — such as student health centers or teaching hospitals — must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines for Electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI).
  • GLBA: Institutions that accept federal aid for students must comply with the Gramm-Leach Blilely Act, which requires institutions to disclose how they share information to users.
  • CCPA: Any school that accepts students from California must adhere to the California Consumer Privacy Act, which states that your institution must disclose the information you collect about users and how you intend to use it. 

Bravura Security Fabric also gives you greater visibility into your IT environment, so you can see who has access to what resources at any given time and generate reports for auditing.

Key IAM Capabilities for Universities and Colleges

Identity access management is an umbrella containing many different parts. These are some of the most important elements of a successful IAM strategy.

Create Smarter Identity With One Platform

Authentic identity and access is critical, especially with the recent explosion of devices across institutional ecosystems. With its pattern for higher education, Bravura Security Fabric protects student, staff and affiliate identities independent of location. Our unified cloud platform combines five best-in-class products to create a secure digital environment for your entire institution:

  • Bravura Identity: Identity store, rules, governance, automation and policies.
  • Bravura Privilege: Our Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution.
  • Bravura Pass: Simplified user credentials management.
  • Bravura Safe: Zero-knowledge ungoverned password vault and manager.
  • Bravura OneAuth: FIDO2 true passwordless multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Bravura Cloud: Identity analytics engine.

Synchronize Seamless Identity Journeys

Ensure student, staff and affiliate info is accurate and in sync through multiple systems of record. Bravura Security Fabric eliminates manual processes with automation and replaces multiple identity, password and privileged access platforms with a holistic solution. Start small and grow big as your needs evolve.

Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

Bravura Security Fabric automates processes, reduces complexity and shortens on-premise, cloud and SaaS deployments to lower your total cost of ownership. Our Solution Delivery services further reduce costs by streamlining your implementation, integration and deployment processes.

Integrate Through the Largest Ecosystem

All your institution's system infrastructure and applications need to work together with your identity and access solution out of the box. Bravura Security offers the largest ecosystem with more than 100 connectors and compatibility with:

  • Unique connectors/integrations specific to each university that are legacy/homegrown.
  • Email and Collaboration Tools for communication and collaboration among students, faculty and staff.
  • Data Analytics Tools used to analyze and visualize data for decision-making purposes.
  • Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) to manage various HR functions, including recruitment, payroll and benefits.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) to deliver courses and content.
  • Student Information Systems (SIS) to manage student data, including enrollment and grades.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems to manage relationships with prospective, current and former students.
  • Library Management Systems to manage acquisition, cataloging and circulation of library materials. 
  • Content Management Systems (CMS) to manage creating and modifying websites and digital content.
  • Financial Management Systems to manage the institution's financial operations, including budgeting, accounting and financial reporting.
  • Research Management Systems to manage the research process, including grant management, ethics approval and publication tracking.

REST and SOAP APIs are also available.

Manage User Identities More Strategically

Realize more efficiency with automated provisioning and de-provisioning. You'll save time and money while protecting your IT team's focus — they can concentrate on long-term strategies and escalated matters while the Bravura Security team will handle credentialing.

Use Identity as a Campus-Wide Strategic Asset

Get departments and staff on a shared platform to reduce funding and institutional challenges. Bravura Security supports campus-wide adoption with early and frequent communication training. Simplified adoption decreases spend and promotes noticeable efficiency gains your entire workforce will value.

Best Practices for Implementing IAM in Higher Education

If your institution needs to implement an IAM solution, finding the right software provider is an excellent step in the right direction. But tech isn't everything — you need to choose a vendor you can rely on to assist you through implementation and beyond.

These tips can help your institution better support your IAM strategies:

  • Conducting a risk assessment: Identifying and documenting potential and existing threats helps you understand your institution's risk so you can determine appropriate actions to strengthen your cybersecurity posture.
  • Developing a comprehensive IAM policy: A holistic IAM approach assigns the right permissions to each user, ensuring everyone only has access to the resources they actually need to get work done.
  • Investing in user training and education: Security awareness training helps protect your institution against human error and negligence by empowering your users to protect themselves.
  • Regular auditing and monitoring: A cybersecurity solution with continuous monitoring enables you to catch threats early so they don't become serious issues later on
  • Establishing an incident response plan: A thorough incident response plan ensures everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in an emergency so you can quickly eliminate the threat and get your operations back up and running.

Finally, using the right technology is essential for protecting your institution from cyber threats, both internal and external. That's where Bravura Security Fabric comes in.

The Bottom Line — Higher Ed Needs IAM Technologies

The rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape throws new challenges at higher education institutions every day, which is why IAM solutions should be a priority for all institutions. 

If you need a comprehensive cybersecurity solution for your institution, you can count on Bravura Security. We are a proud Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit (HECVAT) participant, meaning we're committed to total transparency with our customers. 

Learn more about the importance of assessing your institution's third-party risk here, and request a free demo today to see Bravura Security Fabric in action. 



We're trusted by leading institutions globally.

More and more institutions trust Bravura Security to help them navigate in a connected world.

Bravura Security's converged and modular security fabric empowers all-sized institutions to safeguard data by gaining visibility and control across disparate and homegrown systems, maintaining a secure, compliant IT environment aligned with their educational mission. We serve over 7 million users with identity management and analytics, privileged access, and password governance. 



Featured Peer Webinar

app state



Appalachian State University's Blueprint to IGA Success

Gain expert insights on-demand! Watch our EDUCAUSE Industry Insights webinar featuring Appalachian State and Moran Technology Consulting to master the art of securing approval for IAM and IGA projects, making informed vendor selections, and aligning resources for a successful program launch. This resource is ideal for identity security, IT, InfoSec, cybersecurity, and compliance leaders seeking practical advice from experienced peers and advisors. 

Featured Case Study




Large University in California Modernizes Secure Access

"With [Bravura Security] as our identity provider, we significantly improved our flexibility, efficiency, and governance. Our security strategy now matches our culture of innovation and excellence."

— Senior Manager, Identity and Access Management, University in California


Create Smarter Identity with One Platform

Across an explosion of devices, especially during the shift to distance learning, authentic identity and access is a cornerstone. Bravura Security Fabric with its pattern for Higher Education protects student, staff and affiliate identities independent of location. It allows appropriate access and facilitates secure privileged access to critical assets all in one platform of best-in-class products so you can focus on the best teaching and learning you can provide.

Download the Bravura Security Fabric Data Sheet for Universities and Collegs


Synchronize Seamless Identity Journeys

Ensure student, staff and affiliate info is accurate and in sync through multiple systems of record. Bravura Security eliminates manual processes with automation and replaces multiple identity, password and privileged access solutions with a holistic solution. Start small and grow big, as your needs evolve.


Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

Our solution is purpose-built. It automates processes, reduces complexity and shortens on-premise, cloud and SaaS deployments to lower your total cost of ownership. Bravura Security is unmatched in our ability to deploy industry-leading solutions on time and on budget.


Integrate through the Largest Ecosystem

Being a hub of various faculties, interoperability is critical. From student enrollment systems to legacy mainframes, laptop and desktop operating systems to IT Service Management systems– they need to work together with your identity and access solution out of the box. Bravura Security offers the largest ecosystem with over a hundred connectors and is compatible with popular open-source components including Shibboleth, CAS, OpenLDAP, Grouper and more. Bravura Security includes 100+ connectors, including Active Directory and Azure AD; any LDAP; NIS/NIS+ and eDirectory, PeopleSoft, Salesforce, Concur, ServiceNow, Workday, SAP, AWS, Box, Splunk, with REST and SOAP APIs available.


Use Identity as a Campus Wide Strategic Asset

Get faculties and departments on a shared platform to reduce funding and organizational challenges. Bravura Security will help you support campus-wide adoption with early and frequent communication and training. From IT to the department levels, easier adoption reduces spend and produces noticeable efficiency gains all your staff will value.

On-Demand Webinars

Case Studies and Resources

Case Study

Learn how one institution built a solutions-driven culture with modern identity access management.

Read More

Case Study

After 20 years and across two organizations, the University of California San Francisco modernized its identity strategy.

Read More

Case Study

Learn about how this university empowered its students and increased security with Bravura Security solutions.

Read More

Case Study

Learn how the American Museum of Natural History reduced costs and improved security.

Read More

C-Suite Survey Results

There's a gap between best practices and IAM processes at institutions in North America.

Read More

Ready to Future-Proof Your College or University?


Recent Blog Posts

educause-2021 (1)-1