DAILY INSIGHT: Taming the password beast

By Steve Young, CIO Advisor

What is my password for Google Apps? What is my username for Schoology?

We all live with the pain of trying to remember usernames and passwords every day and the problem is getting exponentially worse. Schools are adopting applications for staff and students at a record pace, and with every adopted application the username and password pain train grows worse. Now picture our youngest learners, who increasingly have to sign in to access educational resources. For them, remembering user credentials and typing them in correctly can be a time-consuming exercise in aggravating frustration. Now multiply this times a classroom full of students, and it’s enough to drive a teacher insane. The amount of instructional time wasted on logging in is immense and there seems to be no end in sight.

Thankfully, there are some vendors focusing on easing this pain for staff and students. While corporations have been flocking to single sign-on (SSO) providers like onelogin, which offer portals with one-click login to applications, companies are increasingly offering education-focused SSO and portal solutions. Schools need solutions to the login mess so they can focus on learning, rather than flushing expensive classroom time down the drain as students try to get logged in to applications. The fastest-moving new entrant to the K-12 market is Clever, which is rapidly expanding its portal-based SSO to be the front-end solution for districts to simplify username and password management. Other more complex and versatile systems, like Stoneware webNetwork, can also help schools tame the password beast and get students and staff focused on what really matters.

Steve Young is CTO of Judson ISD in Texas and founder of the San Antonio Area Technology Directors group. He blogs at CTO Technotes, where this is cross posted. Follow him on Twitter as @atemyshorts.