University of the Arts London: Resilient Microsoft® Office 365 Authentication
Established in 2004, the University of the Arts London is Europe’s largest specialist arts and design university, formed of six colleges with international reputations in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts. The
University has around 19,000 students from over 100 countries, and more than 3,500 staff. Additionally, the university offers many short courses, attended by more than 20,000 students each year.
The University has recently made a strategic decision to implement Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service as an email and collaboration platform for its staff and students. As part of the migration to Office 365, the University required a secure authentication service to allow its users to access Office 365 whilst retaining compatibility with the existing Net-IQ Identity Management solution. Initially the university considered an on-premise solution based upon Microsoft’s ADFS technology, but ultimately realised that a more robust, flexible and scalable service was required.
Jim Nottingham, Chief Information Officer and Director of University IT Services, explains:
“There were several key requirements which drove our selection of an authentication service for Office 365. Firstly, it is essential that our staff and students are able to access the Office 365 service at any time – with that in mind we needed a resilient service hosted externally to the university, to en- sure that authentication would continue to operate independently of the Apple computers and personal BYOD users. We needed a service which had 100% compatibility with Office 365 from all devices, regardless of operating system or location which provided a seamless experience to our users.”
The University ultimately selected ProofID’s hosted Office 365 authentication service, which is built on the market leading enterprise federation and SSO product, PingFederate. Hosted in a Tier-3 UK data centre, the fully-managed and enterprise features such as seamless login for domain joined computers and social login.
Jim Nottingham adds:
“ProofID’s service ensures that our users have reliable access to Office 365, even if, for example, we had a local ISP outage. Being hosted in the UK is also of prime importance for us from a
data sovereignty perspective. We were also impressed by ProofID’s vision around next generation identity management, the possibilities offered by IDENTify. The ability to allow login is very interesting in terms of the user experience and delivering UAL IT Services to our Alumni.”
Tom Eggleston, Managing Director of ProofID:
“We are extremely pleased that the University of the Arts chose our Office 365 service. We are looking forward to working together to deliver a seamless, modern experience to the university’s users and to integrate more applications and services. Ping Federate is the market leader for federation and SSO for good reason, and it is fantastic to be able to bring its enterprise feature set to our university customers in the UK.”