Murdoch Uni tackles identity management in Azure overhaul

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Murdoch Uni tackles identity management in Azure overhaul

Plans to scrap bespoke legacy system.

Murdoch University is set to scrap its bespoke identity management system as part of its push to resolidify its digital foundations that’s already resulted in a significant overhaul of its student portals.

The Perth-based university plans to introduce Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Premium (AADP) over the next year as its new identity management platform to support its 23,000 students and 1700 staff in Western Australia, Dubai, Singapore and Myanmar.

The migration onto Azure is driven by the need for more sustainable solution than their bespoke system can offer in the face of tightening security standards in the education sector.

It will also enable the university to trial enhanced identity management technologies, with biometric verification (such a through phone or tablet fingerprint scanners or facial recognition) currently being explored as one of the untapped capabilities in AADP.

Murdoch is phased transition to the new identity protection and access management platform to minimise disruption and risk, according to a post on The Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) blog.

The university’s associate director of planning and governance, Alex Tegg, said in the blog post that one of the first steps in the transition was creating a translator between the legacy system and AADP to support the 450 applications that plug into the identity management systems.

“You cannot migrate 450 applications at the same time,” Tegg said.

“The gateway is the translator that allows the existing applications to continue to function, and allows those applications to talk to Azure ADP.”

However, the move to AADP presented another challenge in that staff identity management was treated differently to students’, and “AADP authentication works in one tenancy,” Tegg added.

Murdoch also used the Azure Active Directory B2C platform for social identity and Microsoft Identity Manager to replace its large number of legacy scripts for student ID lifecycle management from its student management system, ‘Callista’.

Streamlining and unifying access management is also critical to the university’s plans to build on its use of Office 365 collaboration platforms like SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive in a bid to promote more communication and collaboration between students and academics.

“That merger of the two [Azure] tenancies - staff and student - into a single environment was critical to allow us to have one single identity platform, and to enable seamless collaboration between the student and staff cohorts, we had to bring in everyone.”

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