Main Nav

Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011 Report

Authors: Mark Sheehan, Cedric Bennett, Pam Arroway, Susan Grajek, Judith A. Pirani, Ronald Yanosky

The 2011 report of identity management (IdM) in higher education updates ECAR's 2005 research and extends that work into the domain of federated identity. ECAR gathered information through a survey of 323 higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada and from interviews with 55 IT leaders at 43 institutions.

Report and Supporting Materials

These ECAR materials are now publicly accessible. Subscribe to receive access to all ECAR research and analysis about IT in higher education.


Key Findings

Higher education has made substantial progress in the last five years, but many institutions are still struggling to deliver the full benefits of IdM. Institutions that report the greatest success have invested in all infrastructure aspects — technical, administrative, and political — required for identity management.

  • Doctoral institutions commonly join inter-institutional identity federations; other Carnegie classes often use federation technologies to enable on-campus single sign-on.
  • A majority of respondents agreed that demand for cloud computing in the coming year would increase their need for federated ID solutions.
  • Between 2005 and 2010, use of strong passwords rose 25% and banning use of unencrypted passwords doubled.
  • Institutions engaged in automated role-based authorization projects grew by half; those with fully operational implementations reported better IdM outcomes.

ECAR Recommends

Based on its findings in Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011, ECAR offers the following recommendations:

  • Establish role and identity management policies before embarking on an IdM implementation.
  • Gain executive support, anticipate infrastructure needs, conduct risk assessments, develop business cases, and identify and monitor appropriate metrics.
  • IdM can provide many benefits. Be clear about which priorities you wish to achieve before you begin.
  • Take a serious look at federating.

Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
Register Now!

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.


Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center

Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management



Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.


EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas



Join These Programs If Your Focus Is


Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.



2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations

Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.