Technology Updates

Dear members of the campus community,

I’m writing today to provide a few updates with regards to technology at the university. Changes in technology at the institution have happened rapidly over the course of the past several months in response to growing campus needs and I wanted to take this opportunity to keep you apprised of other, upcoming changes that we will be implementing to make computer systems on campus both easier to access and more secure. 

Password Policy Updates
The first change that will be implemented is one that is essential to our campus information security. Notable changes to the policy and their respective logic include:

  • Increase minimum password length from 8 characters to 12, which will
    • Increase password strength and make random hacks less likely
    • Encourage the use of passphrases rather than simple passwords making hacks less likely
  • Require new passwords be used and restrict the reuse of the past 10 passwords, which will
    • Prevent previously hacked passwords from being reused
    • Minimize the likelihood that a compromised account can be easily re-compromised after password change

More information on the policy can be found by examining the new policy in its entirety. The new password policy goes into effect on March 30th, but you will not need to do anything until the next time your current password expires.

Additionally, trainings are offered on good password creation and management. Information on those trainings can be found on the HR Professional Development website. Select “Spring Training Schedule” and enter your university credentials to see and register for upcoming classes. 

Single Sign On and Multi-factor Authentication
As we migrate to a multi-factor and single sign-on system, which is a more secure and easier to access systems, you will see some changes. The system that we have chosen to deploy is called Okta and will give you a single portal that, once authenticated, will then give you access to the majority of your university IT systems without having to login to each system individually. You will be able to navigate to a single, central portal and have access to applications like Canvas, myPugetSound, Google, Zoom, and other university systems. This will save time and frustration as well as minimize your need to memorize and utilize multiple passwords. 

When fully implemented, this system will require multi-factor authentication that is similar to what you might be using for your banking and healthcare apps or websites, which require you to provide a password and confirm one other factor. 

The first step is for us to migrate a number of these systems to a Google-based authentication system which will take place on or near April 14th. You will still have access to all of your systems that you had before, but the login screen may appear different, giving you the option to use your university Google login. As always, if you encounter any issues with this process, please contact our Service Desk who have been trained to assist with this issue. They can be reached at servicedesk@pugetsound.edu or by calling 253-879-8585.

We expect to have the full Okta Single Sign On and Multi-factor Authentication system deployed during the summer and will send additional updates as this project progresses.

More information can be found on our website. 

Google Mail (Gmail)
In previous communications, I had expressed my hope to have a portion or all of the email system transitioned to the Google Mail services by summer of 2021 if we were able. Due to a number of factors, this will be delayed. A committee has been convened and has met to discuss the beginning stages of this project, but several factors have prevented us from moving forward as quickly as we had hoped. Given the size and magnitude of this transition, we want to ensure that it is done as smoothly and as well as possible. We will reconvene the committee shortly and resume work towards a phased roll-out that may see portions of this capability deployed by the winter break in the December/January timeframe. The biggest things to note about this transition are that we intend to:

  • Keep your existing email addresses where feasible
  • Eliminate mailbox size limitations
  • Make back-up and retrieval of email easier
  • Provide better integration between Google apps including Meet, Docs, Drive, etc.

As always, if you have any questions, seek clarification, or need help, please feel free to reach out to us at servicedesk@pugetsound.edu, or by calling 253-879-8585.

Thank you,

Jeremy
Jeremy Cucco
Associate Vice President for Technology Services
Chief Information Officer