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How AstrumU™ Connects Students With Opportunity Using Auth0

The AI-powered startup enables Universal Login to offer frictionless access to students and employers

About

AstrumU™ is a 30 person software company based in Kirkland, WA that was created to translate educational experiences into economic opportunity. We are on a mission to quantify the return on education investment for learners, education providers, and employers. We help institutions measure the value created for incoming and returning students, while assisting them in securing industry partnerships that lead students seamlessly into high-demand career pathways.

Industry

Education

Region

AMER

In a world full of information, AstrumU™ is leveraging millions of verifiable data points from schools and employers to meet the evolving demands for education and experience. By using this data coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), learners’ educational experience is translated into economic opportunity by connecting learning to working with predictive alignment for employer-verified career pathways.

Additionally, as stated by CTO Kaj Pedersen, employers can hire young talent with more certainty in their core skills by leveraging their AI translation engine’s ability to align around predictable career outcomes.

“Students are the ultimate winners in this scenario: they know the degrees they have sacrificed time and money for will indeed credential them for relevant jobs.” 

With backers like ASU Enterprise Partners, City Light Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Ignition Partners, KC Rise Fund, Kingdom Capital, and the University of Kansas, the startup is in a position to make a positive impact. But in order to connect students, advisors, and employers, Pedersen and his team knew they needed the right authentication solution for their platform.

“If we stay focused and deliver the value that we think we can in terms of translating those educational experiences into economic opportunity, then that is a compelling story.”

Kaj PedersenCTO

Finding the Best Authentication While Meeting an MVP Deadline

According to Phill Moran, AstrumU™’s DevSecOps lead, building authentication was not on the table. “First and foremost, anything we do that has authentication as a basis of access and accessibility has to be frictionless,” he says. “So that means pushing authentication as far away from ourselves as possible.” With a goal to offer secure login while maintaining focus on their product, Moran and Pedersen began searching for a partner.

AstrumU™’s requirements included having a SOC 2 compliant identity management platform that could scale around the SaaS model they were building, and allow the engineers and DevSecOps teams to easily work together. They evaluated several solutions, ultimately selecting Auth0 for its functionality and ease of use.

With just four months to deliver a minimum viable product (MVP), AstrumU™ had to move quickly. Moran recalls they completed Auth0 development in the second month, completed testing in the third month, and had the solution live in the fourth. 

AstrumU™ knew they picked the right solution not just for its functionality, but also to make the most of their developers’ time. “I’d estimate needing between three to five people for managing the compliance, the development, and ultimately the maintenance of the authentication,” says Pedersen. “Auth0 just works, which means that the developers are creating the product and moving our agenda forward.”

“Auth0 just works, which means that the developers are creating the product and moving our agenda forward.”

Kaj PedersenCTO

Auth0 Universal Login Provides Value in the Form of Security and Data

With the AstrumU™ platform setup, students can login to access their data, career pathways, and opportunities. In addition, advisors and employers can login to the platform for student records and to see how students are progressing towards a specific opportunity.

A key component of AstrumU™’s use case has been Universal Login, a feature that allows them to authenticate students, advisors, and employers through whatever login protocol they are using. “For students, we can use their SAML/Shibboleth, or ADFS. For companies, we predominantly use their ADFS, or Gmail for smaller organizations,” says Moran.

AstrumU™ also uses Universal Login to gather telemetry data for each session. Multiple data points are bundled into logs containing user behavior insights, such as time, date, and location, that improve governance and security.

“Universal Login allows us to track user sessions from the start to the exit of each user session very, very confidently,” says Moran. “That can’t be understated. We've got multiple data points and multiple tokens that all coalesce around one path through our application. From a security standpoint, that is key for the success of governance.”

And as a data-driven organization, Pedersen adds the telemetry points are valuable from a data science perspective. “Telemetric data brings context to the experience,” he explains. “It can  inform your understanding of not only the way students use the application, but also potentially the way that the pathways are meaningful to them.”

“Universal Login allows us to track user sessions from the start to the exit of each user session very, very confidently.”

Phill MoranDevSecOps Lead

A Growing Partnership Underscored by Trust

Currently operating in several schools, AstrumU™ anticipates having a presence in 50 schools and more than one million students by the end of 2020. They believe the potential for impact is high. 

“If we stay focused and deliver the value that we think we can in terms of translating those educational experiences into economic opportunity, then that is a compelling story,” says Pedersen.

And they’re relying on Auth0 to meet their goal.

“Auth0 was the first vendor that we brought on board when we started the authentication, security, and data governance mission. They are our most trusted vendor.”

“Auth0 was the first vendor that we brought on board when we started the authentication, security, and data governance mission. They are our most trusted vendor.”

Kaj PedersenCTO

About Auth0

Auth0, a product unit within Okta, takes a modern approach to identity and enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. The Auth0 Identity Platform is highly customizable, and is as simple as development teams want, and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit https://auth0.com.

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