Navigating the post-MIM era: A guide for Higher Education

15 March 2024

In the landscape of Higher Education, good student experience is of utmost priority for institutions, requiring them to rely heavily on efficient identity and access management systems to streamline user lifecycles and ensure secure access to resources. Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM), a staple in this domain, is now gradually phasing out, leaving educational institutions contemplating their next move. But fear not, for this transition presents an opportunity to address longstanding pain points and embrace solutions better suited to the evolving needs of the higher education sector — the utilisation of Microsoft Entra.

The future of MIM

Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM), formerly known as Forefront Identity Manager and Identity Lifecycle Manager, has been a trusted tool for managing user identities and access rights for Active Directory and on-premise business applications for years. With Microsoft’s shift in focus towards cloud solutions such as Microsoft Entra, mainstream support for MIM from Microsoft continues until January 2029, however educational institutions must proactively explore alternatives to ensure that their identity management services remain uninterrupted to avoid any problems from occurring.

These alternative solutions have the ability to open up new doors and offer a host of benefits to educational institutions. Embracing a solution such as Microsoft Entra can simplify and reduce the onboarding times, in turn, providing cost savings to the universities, as well as ensuring the students experience a smooth transition, and a positive first impression. Furthermore, unified log-on can further build this positive, seamless experience, by identifying and providing the necessary roles to individuals, depending on their status, whether this be applicant, student, staff or alumni, allowing them all to hold the correct credentials needed to maintain a smooth user experience throughout the entire educational journey. To minimise any interruption, a robust and secure IAM solution that can be adapted to seamlessly fit into existing complex IT infrastructure is therefore needed, allowing your institution to maximise its operational efficiency.

Understanding the pain points

The student journey within the higher education sector faces various pain points concerning identity and access management. From cumbersome student onboarding and offboarding processes at large scales, to compliance and audit requirements, many educational institutions grapple with challenges that hinder operational efficiency and data security – both of which are critical focus areas for these organisations. Moreover, the surge in remote learning and cloud adoption puts further pressure on these challenges due to the students needing to rely more heavily on online resources to aid in their learning, development, and overall experience at university. This shift in the landscape leads to the necessity of robust identity management solutions tailored to suit the modern educational landscape.

Universities typically have a wide range of IT systems and applications, including academic resources, research databases, student information systems, and HR systems. In the past, MIM was able to connect those systems and automate the identity provisioning. University enrolment is growing year on year, and any legacy system that is involved in the IAM processes is having challenges handling this volume of data while ensuring performance and security remain top priorities.

The diverse community that universities have, including prospective students, students, members of staff, alumni, external researchers, and collaborators, requires a comprehensive and modern IAM solution that can not only support but also improve the user experience from applicant to alumni.

Embracing Microsoft Entra, the modern solution

As educational institutions prepare for the future, alternative solutions that address their specific pain points while aligning with their long-term strategic goals must be evaluated. Microsoft Entra emerges as a frontrunner, offering a range of features conducive to simple identity and access management for both internal and external users. The wide-spread use of existing Microsoft licensing that many Higher Education Institutions possess, potentially already covers much of the Microsoft Entra functionalities, resulting in this being the clear choice for a seamless switch with no user data migration involved, and without the need for a major financial and resource-heavy implementation. Its cloud-first approach resonates with institutions transitioning towards hybrid environments, ensuring seamless integration and scalability.

Leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Entra can help ensure a uniform experience is delivered throughout the entire student journey. Making the student experience seamless is key, and by creating on-brand, single sign-on (SSO) processes, combined with MFA capabilities and an enhanced password management system, you can be confident that the applicants, students, and alumni all see firsthand the benefits of this secure and seamless student journey.

Navigating the transition

At Condatis, we work closely with educational institutions to identify their specific needs and requirements, which allows us to provide start-to-finish bespoke solutions that can work with your existing infrastructure and environment to navigate the transition from MIM seamlessly.

The transition from MIM to Entra necessitates a strategic roadmap tailored to the unique needs of educational institutions. Institutions must also assess their current MIM implementation, identify key functionalities for migration, and gradually reduce dependency on MIM infrastructure while embracing solutions such as Entra ID Governance, automated user provisioning and de-provisioning, and single sign-on (SSO) capabilities, to facilitate a smooth transition, ensuring continuity within identity management services.

A few years ago, achieving critical capabilities for the higher education sector like identity consolidation from multiple sources, automated user provisioning and de-provisioning for applications and services, enabling self-service for user onboarding and access management, as well as external identity management, was a daunting task, and were almost impossible to be achieved with a single product or platform. However, today, all these tasks can be effortlessly achieved with the comprehensive Microsoft Entra product suite.


Get Started

The sun may be setting on Microsoft Identity Manager in the future, but for educational institutions, it marks the beginning of new possibilities within identity and access management. By embracing solutions like Entra and leveraging the powerful tools within, from ID Governance to Verified ID, institutions can navigate this transition seamlessly, addressing longstanding pain points that both students and institutions themselves face, as well as paving the way for a more efficient and secure student journey within the higher education sector. As the landscape continues to evolve, adaptability and strategic foresight will be key to staying ahead of the curve in identity management, and embracing a robust IAM solution is your first step in this journey.

If you would like to know more about how Condatis can leverage Microsoft Entra to aid your Educational Institution, please get in touch using the form below, or find out more here. We’d love to help you!