By Lacey Vickery, Identity and Access Management Architect, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Lacey Vickery and the Identity and Access Management team at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) are alumni of the InCommon Collaboration Success Program (CSP). A unique professional development and upskilling opportunity, the CSP helps organizations reach their IAM goals through community gatherings, training workshops, and tailored recommendations from subject matter experts. In this blog post, Lacey reflects on her experience with the program and offers three reasons why you should join the 2021-22 CSP cohort.
Take it from someone who has participated in the InCommon Collaboration Success Program: no matter where you are in your IAM journey, the CSP can help.
UNCC’s IAM team discovered the program in 2019 while researching tools to solve guest management and non-ERP account management for our institution. We were already familiar with InCommon through our membership in the Federation. The benefits of using a toolset designed specifically for and by higher education institutions made the CSP an appealing option for us.
The experience didn’t disappoint.
The program allowed us to identify gaps in our current IAM offering. With those gaps in clear view, we were able to delve further into the various InCommon Trusted Access Platform components for solving some of the problems we faced. The centralized access management tool, Grouper, was one of those components.
I served as our implementation lead for Grouper. The plan was to pilot the tool for a handful of applications in a production environment.
Our institution had minimal Docker experience before this project, so the deployment of containers, specifically for Grouper, was our initial main focus. Beyond deploying Grouper to a production environment, our plan was to pilot using Grouper’s group management for a handful of applications with the intent of slowing rolling in more services over time.
Reflecting on our experiences and successes, I would encourage any organization to consider how the CSP could help them discover and fast-track their IAM goals. In fact, we liked the CSP so much that we decided to join again for the 2021-22 program!
Here are the top three reasons I would offer to encourage you to also take the plunge:
- Access to Subject Matter Experts. Having access to various SMEs was crucial while participating in the CSP. From open office hours with developers and InCommon faculty to dedicated Slack channels for continued conversations, the program offered many opportunities to benefit from the collective expertise of the community. They were always available to answer technical questions and have the experience necessary to solve implementation challenges often unique to higher education environments.
- In-Depth Training Opportunities and Resources. The immersive training and conferences offered to CSP participants definitely aided in the success of our project. Receiving training from the main Grouper developer was especially beneficial, as Chris knew the ins and outs like no other. Continued access to training materials was also helpful during our initial implementation of Grouper.
- The InCommon Community. Our trust and confidence with InCommon began when our campus joined the InCommon Federation. When we realized there were additional IAM Trusted Access Components that could help us shift away from vendor and homegrown solutions, it seemed like a natural fit. Being able to collaborate with other higher education institutions from around the world was very important to the success of our project and to shaping our long-term IAM goals.
Interested in experiencing these benefits first-hand? There’s still time to join the 2021-22 Collaboration Success Program. Complete this form by July 23 to express your interest, and the InCommon training team will follow up with you about your plans and fit for the program.