The Cobb County School District, located in north metro Atlanta, is the second-largest school system in Georgia with over 107,000 students, 18,000 staff and 113 schools.
Each school year, the Cobb Country School District needs to create or update user accounts for 125,000 existing students, transfer students and staff. The district hired contractors each August to manually create these accounts, as well as to reset passwords for many of the staff who forgot their passwords over the summer. Often this enormous effort took well into October and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Managing identities is also a challenge for the district as user information is stored in a variety of applications, across multiple operating systems. The district needed to automate the user management its enterprise to simplify user administration and reduce unnecessary IT costs.
Cobb County School District tested several identity management solutions before selecting Novell Identity Manager to automate user provisioning and synchronize user information across its enterprise. The district also selected Novell Storage Manager to provide its students, teachers and staff with identity-based storage capabilities.
Using Novell Identity Manager, the district is integrating user identities across multiple applications and directories including its student information system, Novell eDirectory™, Novell GroupWise®, Oracle* and SQL* databases, Remedy, and Mac* Open LDAP. Novell Identity Manager automatically synchronizes user information across connected systems, eliminating the need for manual updating.
“With Novell Identity Manager, we can automatically provide a new user with access to all of the appropriate systems within 24 hours of the time they are entered into our HR system,” said Herb Ague, director of Network Services at the Cobb County School District. “In the past, this could take weeks. We can also automatically deprovision users without any manual effort.”
Students now receive a single ID and password to access e-mail and other applications, and staff no longer need to remember as many as ten different passwords. In the past, one administrator at each school spent the first two weeks of the school year resetting passwords for students who stood in line during class breaks. The password self-service feature of Novell Identity Manager now makes it easy for students and staff to reset passwords on their own.
With Novell Storage Manager, the IT staff can automatically create file storage for users based on their user information stored in Novell eDirectory. When a student moves grades, or a teacher transfers to another site, they can continue to access their data. Students can access their e-portfolio from grade school to graduation.
With Novell Identity Manager, Cobb County School District has reduced user provisioning time from more than two months, to less than 24 hours. The district has eliminated all manual work associated with user administration, saving an estimated $150,000 per year, and can automatically provision users in minutes, rather than months.
The district plans to reduce the number of passwords its staff is required to remember by 50 percent this year. Implementing password self-service has eliminated nearly 400 hours of password-related helpdesk calls a month.
“Our Novell solution has paid for itself in no time,” said Ragsdale. “We avoided hiring costly temporary workers to create and update user accounts at the start of the school year, and for the first time in County history we had all registered students in our identity infrastructure before school started.”
For the complete success story, see:
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