Author : Sanjeev Banerjee
Head of Solutions, ANZ, Espire Infolabs

Sanjeev has over 25 years of experience in IT product & services industry, and heads Solutions Delivery for Espire. He ensures that brands have the right solutions delivered to them, at the right cost & within the timelines committed to them, along with increase in ROI.

Delivering Total Experience in the Higher Education Sector with SSO

Single-sign-on software can reduce complexity and the strain of managing passwords, improving student and staff experiences.

What is Single Sign-On (SSO)?

Single sign-on allows the users to login with a single ID and password to use multiple services on different related yet independent softwares. It allows the users to easily access different softwares without the need of re-entering authentication passwords.

As per Gartner, SSO has emerged as a core IAM requirement for most organizations. By 2022, IDaaS will be the chosen delivery model for more than 80% of new access management purchases globally, up from 50% today.

What is CAS SSO and why was it adopted by leading higher education universities?

Due to the rapid digitalization of the Education sector, Yale University designed the Central Authentication Service (CAS) to provide a centralized Single SignOn Verifier for campus Service Providers.

However, to enable single sign-on into some legacy application it was necessary to provide them with the actual password. Non-CAS-aware (legacy) web applications can also take advantage of CAS's SSO ability using an officially supported extension called "ClearPass"2, which provides user name and password in plaintext for requests initiated by the authenticated user. In combination of a custom adapter (a simple server-side application, which grabs the user name and password of the authenticated user), SSO can be emulated for legacy web applications via traditional form submission.

In the new normal, here are some of the challenges faced by Higher Education Institutions that leverage Central Authentication Service (CAS) SSO:

1. On-campus Infrastructure Dependency

Unlike other businesses, Universities and colleges rely on multiple sources of information to cater to different sets of end users like Student information system for faculty & staff, admission system for students, donation system for donors and other additional systems such as library, athletics etc. This increases a huge dependency on On-campus infrastructure - helpdesk, access management of various information systems for respective end users.

Driving future ready student and staff experiences insight

2. Password Fatigue

To enhance interactivity during sessions, the teaching staff of the universities are leveraging multiple tools and technologies to interact with students. Both students and teachers have to remember multiple passwords associated with the different applications, which causes fatigue.

3. Dependence on the IT Department

All the teachers, students and staff members have to raise a support query to resolve password and authentication related issues. This not only overburdens the IT Department and increases the issue resolution time but also increases the operational costs for the organization.

Top 5 Reasons to shift from Central Authentication Service (CAS) to Azure Active Directory (AADP) SSO:

  • Cost & Operational Benefits
  • Optimizing Investment in Microsoft 365
  • Easy Access & Flexibility
  • Self-Service Password Reset Capability
  • Enhanced Security

With the tightening security standards in the education sector, most Higher Education Universities need to adopt a secure and scalable solution. A migration to Azure AD which is a SaaS platform - not only has moderate cost & operational benefits by reducing on-campus infra dependencies but also provides easy access and flexibility.

Our latest Ebook, highlights the host of benefits of leveraging SSO to drive impeccable student and employee experiences and achieve Total Experience to unlock growth. Read more> here

To know how Espire is helping leading Higher Education Universities reduce their on-campus infrastructural costs and enhance user experience with Azure Active Directory (AAD) migration, connect with us at


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