User Management – Creating, Managing and Securing User Accounts

User Management

Creating, Managing and Securing User Accounts

When creating and managing users accounts on a Learning Management System (LMS), it’s important to follow best practices for managing user data. This helps companies to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive information on their LMS, build trust with their users, and comply with relevant regulations and standards. User management on an LMS typically includes a range of features that allow administrators to responsibly manage users’ data. This includes the ability to create user accounts, manage users’ profiles, roles, permissions and enrollments, and segment users and their data.

The first step in responsible user management is the creation of user accounts on the LMS. This includes collecting and storing user information, such as name, email address, and password, which allows users to log in to the LMS and access their learning materials. Before examining the other aspects of user management, this post will therefore take a closer look at three important concepts involved when creating, managing, and securing user accounts:


1) Customizable User Profiles

2) Federated Authentication

3) Multi-factor Authentication

Customizable User Profiles

The ability to customize user profiles on an LMS can allow companies to collect and store relevant information about their employees, such as job titles, departments, and skill sets. This customization is important for several reasons:


1) Personalization:

Customized user profiles can allow companies to personalize the learning experience for each user. By collecting and storing relevant information such as job titles, departments, and skill sets, companies can tailor the learning experience to the specific needs and goals of each user.

2) Targeted Communication:

Companies can use the information collected in user profiles to send targeted communication to specific groups or individuals. For example, if a company is launching a new training program for managers, they can use the user profile data to send targeted invitations to only those users with a manager job title.

3) Reporting:

Customized user profiles can help companies track and analyze user data for reporting and analytics purposes. By collecting information such as completion rates, performance metrics, and user feedback, companies can gain insights into the effectiveness of their training programs and make data-driven decisions.

4) Compliance:

In certain industries or for certain types of training programs, companies may need to collect specific user information to ensure compliance with regulations or standards. Customized user profiles can help companies collect and store this information in a secure and organized way.

Overall, customizing user profiles on an LMS can help companies improve the effectiveness of their training programs, streamline communication, and comply with regulations and standards. By collecting and storing relevant user data, companies can provide a more personalized learning experience for their employees and make data-driven decisions to improve their training programs.

> Custom Profile Fields

User profiles can be customized on an LMS in a variety of ways depending on the specific features and capabilities of the platform. However, the most common way to achieve this, is by using custom profile fields.

Many LMS platforms allow administrators to create and add custom fields to the user profile form to collect additional user information beyond the standard fields like name, email address, and password. These custom fields can be used to collect more specific information that is relevant to the training program or organization, such as job title, department, or location.

Administrators can then use this information to tailor the training content and communication to the specific needs and goals of each user. Custom profile fields also allow administrators to track and analyze user data for insights into the effectiveness of training programs. For example, an administrator can use custom profile fields to identify and invite all users with a specific job title (e.g. manager) to a new training program and then track and compare completion rates for managers from different departments.

Federated Authentication

Authentication defines the way a user is identified and validated through some sort of credentials as part of a sign-in flow. Most LMSs present a sign-in page to an end user, allowing the user to specify a username and a password. Most applications have a user store (database) that contains, among other things, user profile information and credentials. When a user signs in, the credentials are validated against this database. The advantage of this simple approach is that everything is managed within the application, providing a single and consistent way to authenticate an end user.

With increased collaboration and the move towards cloud-based environments, however, many companies require their employees to access multiple applications (e.g. a cloud-based LMS) where each one requires a different set of credentials. This becomes a problem for the end user who is now forced to maintain separate usernames and passwords, and must handle different password policies and expirations. Federated Authentication is the solution to this problem.

Federated authentication is a mechanism that allows users to access multiple web applications or services with a single set of login credentials, such as a username and password, without having to create and manage multiple accounts for each website or service. This simplifies the user experience and reduces the number of passwords that users need to remember.

Federated authentication involves the use of a trusted third-party service, known as an identity provider (IdP), to authenticate the user’s identity and provide the necessary access tokens or claims to the relying parties (RPs) – the web applications or services the user wants to access.

> Implementing Federated Authentication in an LMS

Some LMSs allow for federated authentication to be implemented so that users can log in to the LMS using their existing credentials from another identity provider (IdP) without the need to create and manage a separate account for the LMS.


This process typically works as follows:

1) The user navigates to the LMS login page and selects the option to sign in with their federated IdP.

2) The LMS redirects the user to the IdP’s login page.

3) The user enters their credentials (e.g., username and password) on the IdP’s login page.

4) The IdP verifies the user’s credentials and generates a security token containing information about the user’s identity and permissions.

5) The IdP sends the security token back to the LMS.

6) The LMS receives the security token and verifies its authenticity with the IdP.

7) If the security token is valid, the LMS uses the information in the security token to create a new user account or log the user into an existing account in the LMS.

8) The user is redirected to the LMS dashboard or the specific resource they were trying to access.


Federated authentication typically relies on industry-standard protocols such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), OAuth, and OpenID Connect (OIDC) to facilitate the exchange of authentication and authorization information between the IdP and the RPs. The specific steps involved in setting up federated authentication on an LMS may vary depending on the LMS platform and the IdP being used, but the use of these standards helps to ensure interoperability and security between different systems and platforms.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security mechanism that requires users to provide multiple forms of authentication in order to access a system or application. MFA is designed to provide an extra layer of security beyond the traditional username and password, which can be easily stolen or guessed. There are three basic types of authentication factors:


1) Something the user knows:

This can be a password, PIN, or other secret that only the user should know.

2) Something the user has:

This can be a physical device such as a smart card, security token, or mobile phone that generates a one-time code or push notification.

3) Something the user is:

This can be a biometric factor such as a fingerprint, facial recognition, or voice recognition.


MFA typically requires the user to provide at least two of these factors to authenticate. For example, a user might enter a password and then receive a one-time code on their mobile phone that they must enter to complete the authentication process. Alternatively, the user might scan their fingerprint or use facial recognition to authenticate in combination with a password.

MFA is an effective way to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive systems or applications, as it requires an attacker to have both the user’s credentials and access to the second authentication factor. MFA is increasingly used in a variety of settings, including LMSs. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) on an LMS provides an additional layer of security to protect sensitive user information, course content, and other confidential data. MFA can hold the following security benefits for an LMS:


1) Protection against password-based attacks:

Passwords are often the weakest link in any authentication system, and attackers can use a variety of techniques such as phishing, social engineering, or brute-force attacks to steal or guess user passwords. MFA adds an extra layer of protection against these types of attacks by requiring users to provide a second authentication factor that is not easily stolen or guessed.

2) Compliance requirements:

Many companies, especially those in regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, or government, are required to implement MFA as part of their security and compliance policies. Implementing MFA on an LMS can help companies meet these requirements and avoid costly penalties or legal liabilities.

3) Protecting sensitive user data:

LMSs often contain sensitive user information such as names, email addresses, and course progress data. MFA can help prevent unauthorized access to this information and reduce the risk of data breaches or identity theft.

4) Protecting course content:

LMSs also contain course content such as videos, slides, and quizzes that are often proprietary or confidential. MFA can help prevent unauthorized access to this content and reduce the risk of intellectual property theft or copyright infringement.

5) Enhancing user trust:

Implementing MFA on an LMS can help enhance user trust and confidence in the security of the system, which can lead to increased user adoption and engagement.

It is becoming increasingly important for companies to implement LMS user management best practices. This not only ensures compliance with relevant regulations and standards and the safety and privacy of users’ data, but ultimately also builds trust with users – which can improve adoption of, and engagement with, training programs. Whether it be through the use of customized user profiles, federated authentication, or multi-factor authentication, many LMSs allow companies to be more proactive in their approach to user management. 

Pluto LMS

Pluto LMS is a Business-to-Business training platform with comprehensive user management features that allow companies to implement best practices to stay ahead of emerging threats and proactively ensure a safe and secure learning environment for their users.  

If you would like to learn more about how Pluto LMS can help your company achieve its training and development goals, you are welcome to schedule a call with one of our LMS experts: