Login with Google


From the earliest days of our service, users have logged in with an email address and password.  While this design decision has served us well for many years, at this point it’s a little behind the times.  Today, many services also offer the option to login with Google (or other large sites). Approximately 2/3 of our customers are “Google shops,” and provide accounts for all students and staff.


To stay current, we’re now offering the ability for users to login to TeacherEase/SchoolInsight with Google. For admins, it’s easier to create new users in our system (since they won’t need passwords) and reduces ongoing support.  For end users, it reduces the username/passwords they must remember.



Note: If you’d rather NOT use Google authentication, that’s ok.  Our existing login mechanism continues to function unchanged. We like adding new features, and we try hard not to take away existing ones.


Here’s how it works.  There is now a button on the login page to “Login with Google.”  Clicking it will launch a secure authentication page from Google.  After providing login credentials, Google will notify TeacherEase/SchoolInsight if the user has been successfully authenticated.  Authenticated users can proceed as usual with our service.



Let’s go into more technical detail. We still hold users’ email addresses in our system, but passwords are now optional.  After a user authenticates with Google, they give us the user’s email address. We lookup the authenticated email address in our system, and if it matches an account, we allow appropriate access.  For successful setup, the CGS email address must match the Google email address.


We also allow districts to require all students or staff to use Google Authentication to access TeacherEase/SchoolInsight.  This means that they can only login with Google, and not their CGS password. After turning on this feature, if a user tries to login “the old way,” we’ll show them a helpful message to use Google instead.


SDAdmin Main > Options > Login Preferences



We expect this to lower setup and ongoing support costs.  You won’t need to manage passwords in our system. You should get fewer questions because users will login to different systems with a consistent interface.  It’s simpler, and hopefully should work better.


We also believe that using Google will result in higher security.  They have implemented two-factor authentication(2FA) and take precautions when access is attempted from unknown devices.  We think it makes sense to leverage Google's security investments to improve our system, rather than build similar functionality ourselves.


One security detail to note.  Google allows users to stay logged in for long periods of time (often many weeks).  This feature provides users with easy access to Google’s many products. It is the users’ responsibility, however, to secure their authenticated devices, as anyone with access to these devices can also access Google, and subsequently TeacherEase/SchoolInsight.  We feel this a reasonable risk, which is already well understood and accepted by Google customers. For districts uncomfortable with this risk, we offer the option to disable Google authentication.


SDAdmin Main > Options > Login Preferences


Parents can use Google authentication too.  If they have a Google email, and their CGS email address matches their Google email address, they can login with Google.


Since many of our customers use Google, we have future plans to integrate more deeply with them.  Next up is Google Classroom, which has ~60% of the LMS market. We plan to import Google Classroom grading files, so it’s easy to get grades from Classroom into TeacherEase.  In the medium term we also plan to integrate Google Drive into TeacherEase LMS, and enable their apps to be easily used with TeacherEase.