Articles

Stop Giving Up Your Data!

Thomas D. McKechney, CEO

March 29, 2016

Last week Credentials Solutions announced the eduCheck™ family of verification services at the AACRAO Annual Meeting in Phoenix.  This announcement marks the return of Credentials to the verification market after selling those product lines to NSC in 2008.  In addition to our desire to give higher education choices when it comes to service providers, we believe that the dramatic growth in cybercrime over the past decade argues for a radical change in the way student information is managed by colleges and universities going forward. 

For most postsecondary schools, the state of the art in verifications requires the institution to send pretty much its entire student information database to the service provider multiple times every semester.  This results in a back and forth process of “error correction” in order to properly sync the files so that the service provider can verify degrees and enrollment while also reporting to various government agencies.  The process is dated, cumbersome and expensive to say the least.  Moreover, by duplicating and sharing these student records, schools are inadvertently doubling their exposure to cybercrime.  We are not suggesting that the current service provider is not doing a good job protecting these records,  but as our President, Jeff Geldermann, says, “Today’s hacker isn’t nearly as smart as the one we will face tomorrow.”  Hence, the argument “Why give the bad guys twice as much opportunity to get at your data?”

The design concept of eduCheck™ eliminates sharing your student information with your service provider.  Instead, we will accept verification requests and process them using our proprietary middleware, RoboRegistrar®, in precisely the same manner as we process transcript requests.  A single secure, locked down connection which is used for fulfilling transcript requests, diploma orders and verifications “on demand”.  There is no copying and sharing of your student information.  Hence, the exposure is reduced by half and the expensive process of syncing your data with a service provider is eliminated.  And the job of managing risk is contained to your campus Risk Manager. 

eduCheck™ will roll out in three phases.  First, we will introduce a degree verification service for employers and background screening firms.  Second, we will deliver a current enrollment verification product for students.  The third phase will be to develop an automated method for schools to report directly to NSLDS and the VA. Our plans call for all three services to be “live” by the end of 2017 with degree verifications being introduced in the Fall of 2016. 

In many respects, the cyber world has become a terrifying place since we sold degreechk.com in 2008.  Credentials Solutions has adapted by significantly increasing the resources we bring to bear on data security.  It is a continuous, never ending process of educating our employees and hardening our defenses.  But sometimes the best defense is the simplest and easiest to implement.  Simply put: Don’t give up your data!

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