Founded in 1851, St. John’s School is an independent, co-educational school for boys and girls aged 11-18. The school offers day, flexi and weekly boarding options, and is renowned for its outstanding pastoral care, academic strength and for providing a first-class all round education. Set in Leatherhead in the United Kingdom, life at St. John’s is underpinned by a strong sense of community, a vibrant house system and an exemplary co-curricular program.
Assistant Head of Digital Strategy
While St. John’s is steeped in tradition, it continually evolves the way it serves its students. To that end, the school leverages technologies to offer new opportunities beyond traditional learning. In more recent years, this has translated into using digital technology to enhance teaching and learning and ensure its curriculum is completely accessible from any device in a safe environment. However, in order for its pupils and teachers to take advantage of this, the technology needs to be simple to use.
“If students and teachers need to remember multiple passwords and log in multiple times to access needed applications, it disrupts lessons,” explains Mark Sartorius, Assistant Head of Digital Strategy at St. John’s.
Over the years, the school has called upon Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions with the goal of easing application access. Its first SSO was hosted on site, which proved hugely problematic. According to Sartorius, the smallest issue could knock SSO offline, preventing people from accessing needed resources. “Everyone had to use the solution because it’s the center of everything they did. But confidence in IT declines when solutions like this don’t work,” continues Sartorius.
St. John’s migrated to a cloud-based SSO solution, which worked well except that IT struggled with provisioning. The solution automatically created accounts on Active Directory for any staff members listed in the school’s Management Information System. According to Jon Sawers, the school’s IT Network Manager, this resulted in unnecessary additional licensing costs and frustration for IT.
The school migrated to a cloud-based SSO solution, which worked well. However, when the provider stopped supporting provisioning for independent schools, St. John’s needed to find a replacement. “We received one-week notice – right before our summer holidays – that we needed to replace the solution, putting incredible pressure on us to move quickly,” says Sartorius.
Sartorius and Jon Sawers, the school’s IT Network Manager, evaluated IM Cloud, General Active Directory Federation Service, and Wonde, along with OneLogin. Key criteria included federation with Office 365 and with Firefly, the school’s Virtual Learning Environment. After assessing the software and contacting colleagues for their recommendations, OneLogin came out on top.
“Many startups serve the education field, but we wanted an enterprise-level solution so we didn’t get left hanging if the provider disappears or changes its model,” explains Sartorius
According to Sartorius, St. John’s chose OneLogin because its features exceeded the ones offered by the other vendors. This included support for two-factor authentication and the ability to integrate with MySchool Portal, the school’s SSO front end. “It’s challenging to find a solution that does everything you want, but OneLogin does just that,” continues Sartorius.
Now over 1,000 people at St. John’s – 800+ pupils and staff – easily access essential applications including Office 365, MySchool Portal, and a room booking system from a single portal.
Sartorius underscores the importance of streamlined access and a single point of authentication in the learning environment. “If our teachers and students struggle to log in to access the many applications they need, it takes away from the fast-paced, 40-minute lessons. Our teachers and pupils trust OneLogin. They know it works reliably and with just a single click, provides access to everything they need,” continues Sartorius.
Moreover, by centralizing access via a single portal, OneLogin makes everything more efficient for St. John’s. OneLogin even encourages full use of the applications the school provides because people no longer need to remember multiple usernames and passwords and log in separately to access each application.
At the same time, automated and accurate onboarding and offboarding into Office 365 means much less work and frustration for IT. “I simply fill in the required fields in Active Directory and the accounts are created, saving lots of time and eliminating worry about user accounts being created without us knowing,” explains Sawers.
“I’m glad we were forced to look for a new SSO solution, because OneLogin is superior to our previous solution. In fact, it’s essential to running our school. Now every teacher and pupil logs on every day to the centralized portal to access needed resources with a single click,” concludes Sartorius.
OneLogin brings speed and integrity to the modern enterprise with an award-winning single sign-on and identity management platform. Our portfolio of solutions secure connections across all users, all devices and every application, helping enterprises drive new levels of business integrity and operational velocity across their entire app portfolios.