A Solution for Multiple SSO Integration Challenges

Press Release from PistolStar, Inc.

May 9, 2017   by Jason Garfagna  

 The search for a fully integrated authentication solution to provide to your students, parents, and faculty can be an overwhelming challenge. Oaks Christian School, an independent, college-preparatory school in California met that challenge head on in 2017. PortalGuard was chosen to provide them with this service because of its excellence in the authentication industry.

 Why was Oaks Christian School Looking for a Solution?

During the 2015-16 school year, Oaks Christian School(OCS) with an enrollment of 1,400 servicing grades 5-12 wanted to learn more about how parents felt about their online experience on the school’s website. They administered a survey that would assess the current value and state of the OCS website. After the survey was completed, there was constructive feedback suggesting several improvements to the OCS website.

The first feedback that caught OCS’s eye was that they wanted a central access point to all their resources on the website. This would make it easier for parents to navigate through a content/app heavy website. This then sparked the idea of integrating all content/apps into a user-friendly site. Lastly, and probably the biggest concern from the survey, was the idea that there wasn’t one login to access all the accounts. SSO provides this, but OCS demanded that it came with enhanced security/functionality.

Challenges in their Search

When OCS started looking for an SSO solution to service all these needs it became difficult to find one that could integrate all their web apps in one system. This was challenging because OCS needed to find a solution that could support Identity Federation. Then they came to find that many of the vendors they were vetting claimed to integrate with core applications such as Blackbaud, but after further review, OCS discovered they could not.  This was a critical pain point for OCS.

Then came PortalGuard

After a long vetting process of vendors, OCS narrowed down their search to just a few. Yes, PortalGuard was one of them! PortalGuard is an all in one integrated authentication package that offers SSO, SSPR, 2FA and over 120 other features. With experience working with several Colleges, Community Colleges and K-12 institutions PortalGuard was in prime position to offer OCS the best value.

Below is a list of purchasing requirements, and added benefits, that brought value to OCS based on the feedback from the survey and other crucial factors.

PortalGuard Value

  • Federated SSO to websites*
    • SAML employed for the bigger websites such as Canvas and OWA
  • Integration with non-federated websites*
    • Forms Based authentication easily satisfied this requirement
  • “tool box” for SSO that allows flexibility when integrating with disparate web apps
  • PortalGuard provided customization to integrate with Blackbaud SSO API
  • Vendor Consolidation
    • Providing inline self-service password reset to OSC’s SSO portal with the same solution
  • High-level of Customization
    • Fully branded the OCS login portal and SSO jump page
  • Mobile responsiveness which ensured that parent, students, and faculty/staff can access OCS apps from any device
  • Access to applications by user type (e.g. students, parents, or faculty/staff)
  • PortalGuard’s Price point outmatched the competition
  • A highly skilled, in-house, Technical Support team that could adhere to all technical requirements and future needs
  • OCS didn’t have (nor want) parent accounts in AD.  They used PortalGuard’s CustomUsers table in their pstar database.  This avoided additional licensing fees as well as increased maintenance of AD accounts.

The value that PortalGuard brought to OCS was far away and beyond superior to all other vendors considered.  Thus, making PortalGuard the best solution for OCS!

If, you are a College, Community College or K-12 institution looking for an authentication solution contact us today!

 *Apps OCS integrated w/PortalGuard

  1. Canvas
  2. Passport
  3. Photo Gallery
  4. School Records
  5. Naviance
  6. Smart Tuition
  7. Library
  8. FAWeb
  9. Gmail
  10. Google Drive
  11. Microsoft-OWA
  12. Citrix
  13. Blackbaud
  14. OneCard
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