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How ID Management Systems Enhance Campus Security

2/13/2024 9:00:00 AM

ID management systems enhance physical and digital security by integrating all aspects of the system and leaving no corner of the campus without built-in protections and active oversight.

Everything in the ID management system is visible and controllable by administrators, which makes security problems easier to identify and responses to those problems faster and more exact. Security processes, policies, and standards are consistent.

Altogether, the traits of an integrated ID solution foster better security than a patchwork of siloed software and hardware, on top of the many other benefits of an integrated campus ID.

Campus IDs provide better physical security

For physical security, an integrated system allows for comprehensive monitoring and logging of activity throughout a campus. Administrators can know where someone is or has been and, as an example, whether someone has repeatedly attempted to access a restricted area. An integrated system allows admins to add and remove users and lock down areas of the campus, and do so quickly, accurately, and in coordination with residence halls, dining, classrooms, laboratories, and more.

ID management systems provide better data security

An integrated system also improves data security and data privacy because it enforces consistency. All aspects of the system conduct the same processes in the same manner, meet the same legal and technical standards, and follow the same industry regulations and institutional policies. In combination, this limits exposure to cyber risks and helps achieve and maintain compliance.

Digital security is also enhanced by today’s ID cards and mobile IDs, which use encryption when transmitting data, are PCI compliant when making a payment, and have further layers of security such as multi-factor authentication and biometrics.

Easier and improved access management

There are also advantages to using physical ID cards and mobile devices instead of metal keys. If a card or mobile ID is lost or stolen the changes in access—such as deactivating a campus ID—are easier to manage, and it is easier to produce a new card or reset a device. You don’t have to re-key an entire building if a key is lost or, even worse, buy and install new locks if the master key is lost.

Integrated and digitized ID management systems are better at managing diverse use cases, such as securely providing access and permissions for temporary users on campus. Youth attending summer camps, researchers attending academic conferences, construction crews working on buildings, and other groups can be provided with access and permissions that staff can control in every detail.

Security advantages of NFC technology and mobile IDs

When implementing a modern ID management system, the most secure technology for conducting access and payment transactions is Near Field Communication (NFC). In addition to quickly and securely transmitting data from a single device to a single device, NFC can operate when an Apple mobile phone's battery appears to be dead. In an emergency situation where tech must work correctly and quickly, an ID on the mobile device can still communicate with a NFC-enabled reader to provide immediate access.

In addition, recent surveys show that students feel more secure with mobile IDs and are less likely to lose a mobile device than a key or card. If a mobile device is lost or stolen, students can log into their student account or digital wallet to turn the card off, and many iPhone users can use the Find My Phone feature to locate their device.

Security best practices for ID management systems

Implementing an ID management system that manages access and permission across an entire campus has inherent security benefits. But relying on those benefits alone is not enough to provide security. Implement these best practices alongside best-in-class solutions to ensure the security of users and their devices and data:

  • Apply the principle of least privilege: This is an information security concept in which a user or entity is given the minimum levels of access or permissions to solutions and data needed to execute a task. Only access or permissions that are truly essential, necessary, and strictly required are granted. This helps reduce exposure and prevent leaks, inadvertent or intentional, that lead to security breaches.
  • Use group-based levels of access and permissions: Group-based access and permissions define groups of users who share specific attributes and provide them access and permissions that fit the needs of those attributes. Group-based is significantly easier to manage than individual-based access and permissions that are too numerous, complex, and onerous to change quickly and accurately. Security relies on speed and accuracy to be effective.
  • Add more layers of security: A variety of features can be considered to increase security, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), two-factor authentication (2FA), single sign-on (SSO), biometrics, and more.
  • Maximize the technology you have: Speak with your solutions providers to learn about features you may have missed or under-utilized in the technology. Apply that knowledge to unlock new possibilities and fine tune existing processes.
  • Regularly update software and hardware: Always update to the latest version of software solutions and the newest firmware on hardware devices, as these often include new and increased security functions and critical fixes to bugs that compromise security.
  • Regularly conduct reviews to foster continuous improvement: Campus IDs support activities repeatedly occurring on campus in large volumes, like building and classroom access. With so many occurrences, and often a lot of data on them, you have the chance to study, analyze, and revise how well your system works. The goal is to create a continuous cycle of reflection and refinement.
  • Engage with higher ed and tech industry organizations: Groups such as the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU) are valuable sources of information and resources. Attend webinars and conferences by these organizations to share tips and experiences with peers and learn about new challenges and opportunities in ID management.

Student safety and security

Using the right technology and applying best practices creates a more secure ID management system. Users experience the improved security in real ways, especially with mobile IDs. Students say having an ID on their mobile device is safer and more secure than a card or a key. Watch this video to hear students at Sheridan College explain how their security is enhanced by having their campus ID on their mobile device.


To learn more about how Sheridan College uses advancements in integrated ID management systems, visit the Sheridan College case study.