Implementing a holistic, cloud-based vision
YES Prep called in OCG to help it create an elegant identity access and management solution that would give teachers SSO access to all applications and set the groundwork for Charlesworth’s single-pane-of-glass vision for teachers, all while maintaining federal and state student data privacy requirements. Charlesworth was familiar with OCG already, as it had helped him create a similar solution at a previous employer.
“All the other vendors we talked to said it would cost millions of dollars and be nearly impossible,” Charlesworth said. “But OCG grasped exactly what we were trying to do and provided a cost-effective path to get there using Microsoft Azure.”
When Oxford Computer Group started work with the customer, the agenda was clear: the school wanted to adopt a cloud-first mentality.
“In K–12 education, the days of on-premises systems are numbered. Given their IT budgets, the typical district simply can’t manage the complexities and security concerns associated with maintaining all of these systems. By contrast, much of that complexity can be pulled into the cloud and handled behind the scenes—it is just far easier to develop a single-pane-of-glass view in a cloud environment,” said Steve Brugger, President, Oxford Computer Group.
OCG began pulling in each of the school’s systems to check whether they were cloud-based, and replaced on-premises systems when necessary. OCG then implemented SSO using Azure Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to consolidate sign-ins to the various systems. Ultimately, OCG was able to provide the SSO experience YES Prep was looking for while positioning itself to add more value in managed services over the course of the contract.
“Using Oxford Computer Group’s managed services, YES Prep Public Schools has been able to rapidly deploy an SSO solution using the Microsoft identity stack,” said Troy Neal, Senior Director of Information Technology at YES Prep Public Schools. “OCG was able to help us scale and set up SSO using ADFS or Azure AD for all current applications. It also helped create a technical document that allows YES Prep to identify identity solutions as we continue to grow our application portfolio. Overall, we’ve been able to accomplish more and reach our IT goals faster because of OCG’s managed services.”
Turning a successful engagement into a long-term partnership
Building on its initial success implementing YES Prep’s SSO solution, OCG has continued to plug in with the customer via its managed service engagement, discovering new opportunities to add value to YES Prep. As just one example, OCG was able to identify a potential gap in YES Prep’s security posture and implement a solution to address it.
“In the education vertical, they are especially vulnerable to threats that come by way of phishing attacks. We partnered with Microsoft to develop our Phish Net solution, which we implemented to help YES Prep fight against compromised accounts in Azure Active Directory,” said Steve Brugger, President, Oxford Computer Group.
As Troy Neal, Senior Director of Information Technology for YES Prep Public Schools stated, “OCG has become a true partner with YES Prep Public Schools. It is vested in our goals and proposes solutions to help us meet our mission.”