Data integration saves time by automating the process of uploading constituent (students, parents, faculty/staff, alumni) and academic (classes, rosters) data into Finalsite from your Student Information System (SIS). This automated data integration takes the place of manual data sheet uploads. Your data flows one-way, from your SIS into Finalsite. The ‘integrated’ data is used for eNotify lists, online directories, class pages (academic Group Spaces) and rosters, alumni Group Spaces, and so on; therefore, its integrity is important.
The integration is not real-time, but is run as a scheduled task, updating any data in Finalsite that has recently changed in your SIS. Depending on how the export from your SIS and upload to Finalsite are configured, data updates may be synced to Finalsite in as little as one hour.
Schools looking for two-way integration can leverage Finalsite's API, which has a broad set of end points for moving data into and out of the Finalsite database.
Finalsite imports data from SIS systems in a few distinct ways:
With a web service (API) based integration, your data is pulled directly from the web services offered with your SIS integration.
Automated Data Sheet Integration
With a data sheet integration, the information is extracted from the SIS using the SIS's own export capabilities. It is securely transferred to our servers via an upload utility, where it is updated in the Finalsite database. If the export from the SIS is scheduled/automated, then this is a fully automated method to transmit data from the SIS into Finalsite.
Direct Database Connection
This method of integration uses a direct connection to the source database to pull constituent and group information.
The data that is integrated with Finalsite can be categorized as constituent (person) data or academic data.
Constituent data is "profile" data for your faculty/staff, students, parents, and alumni data -- this generally includes demographic information and covers more than 50 key data points that can be relevant for developing customized lists, groups and profiles. This data can be viewed in Finalsite's Constituent Manager by a site administrator with rights to it. Constituents are not deleted or archived by being absent from the data. This is intentionally done to prevent loss of data. Passwords are not imported in any of our integration offerings.
Academic data relates to your class and roster data. This can be used in Finalsite to create and populate classes for the Finalsite LMS. This data can be seen in Group Manager by a site administrator with t he appropriate access. Additionally, users will see their relevant classes show up in their account bar and in the Finalsite LMS environment. Parents will be able to see their students groups if the Finalsite setup is configured to allow this. Classes are not automatically removed or archived via the integration. Whole rosters are pulled from the SIS system, they can also be added to in Finalsite "outside" of the integration.
During an implementation of an integration, clients work with our Deployment team who will oversee the integration project from start to finish; this usually means several conversations with members of our Integration and Support teams to discuss the strategy, approach and process. The client verifies that all necessary data to be pulled into Finalsite is currently available and up-to-date in the SIS: student/parent, faculty, classes, and class rosters, and so on. A careful review of initial exports helps proactively troubleshoot any potential issues down the road, including that we are properly mapping the required fields and understand the appropriate IDs. Once this pre-flight check is completed, the client runs the Upload Utility to send the files to Finalsite and can also configure the utility for scheduled execution. The Project Manager and the client reviews the data via Constituent and Groups Manager to make sure everything looks correct.
Data security is of paramount importance. Security best-practices include but are not limited to:
- Ensuring that the client understands the nature of the integration and agrees to take all necessary precautions to ensure data exports and data transfers are safe, including defining and implementing electronic and physical access policies to any databases, servers and software they manage and control.
- Requiring all remote connections to happen over a secure (SSL) connection.
- Enforcing reverse-IP checking, if applicable, on servers that receive incoming data.
- Using strong passwords at all times.
- Maintaining an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that actively scans incoming network traffic for malicious activity.
- For file-based integrations, enforcing file-naming conventions, along with a defined folder hierarchy. This ensures only files of a certain type and in a specific location get transferred to our servers.
- Failing gracefully in the event of an error condition, to minimize displaying information that could be used maliciously.
- If applicable, enforcing a pre-defined data structure, to safeguard data integrity and to warn Finalsite engineers in case data is no longer in the format we expect.
Schools and districts choose Finalsite because we have the most integration partners in the industry. Learn more about our current SIS & SSO Partners.
Learn more about how Finalsite's platform is secure and complies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).