This IT leader's innovative leadership led to reduced learning loss and enhanced security. Winner of the Hero Awards.

Secure network access led to successful learning initiatives for this eSN Hero Awards winner

This IT leader's innovative leadership led to reduced learning loss and enhanced security

One of three eSN K-12 Hero Awards winners, Daniel Olivas was nominated by Identity Automation and was selected as a winner for his strategic thinking and leadership in critical district IT and IT security initiatives.

The pandemic has accelerated the transition to remote and hybrid learning, and it made school districts the number one target for cyberattacks. As the fifth largest school district in Texas, Austin Independent School District was no exception. Guided by the motto “AISD Anywhere,” the district used the pandemic as an opportunity to provide over 100,000 students, teachers, staff, parents, and other users with secure access to classroom tools from any Wi-Fi network.

As Network Analyst at Austin ISD, Daniel Olivas led the implementation of an identity-centric zero trust security strategy that ensured this access was not only user-friendly, but secure. Unlike traditional, perimeter-focused approaches to security, Austin ISD’s zero-trust approach assumes all network traffic is untrusted until an identity has been verified–a critical step to securing a digital ecosystem that can be accessed from anywhere.

To tie Austin ISD’s digital ecosystem together and orient it around digital identities, Olivas leveraged the district’s long-time Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform, RapidIdentity, to grant individuals access to needed applications, while connecting data from those applications back to the correct digital identity. Acting as the new perimeter of Austin ISD’s digital environment, RapidIdentity has helped Austin ISD bolster security and become a leader in K-12 authentication and zero trust.

Austin ISD is seen as a technology leader among its peers, recently hosting a user group for Texas school districts that Olivas helped lead on the topic of “Creating an InfoSec Culture Centered on Digital Identities.” As Network Analyst, Olivas was on the front lines in designing and implementing this identity-centric approach to secure anywhere, anytime access.

How this eSN Hero Awards winner helps at-risk students turn their lives around
Meet the 2022 K-12 Hero Awards winners!

Laura Ascione

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