Why the hassle behind all of this?
Great question. Here’s the longer answer...
We have reached a critical time in our online world. Everything we do both in our business and personal lives is now some how connected to the Internet and available online it seems. With that instant access, high availability, and the great technological advances we have made as a society, so too has the threat to steal and misuse this data by “hackers” all around the world. This has become a billion dollar industry unfortunately. There are new threats and schemes each day entering the digital arena that attempt to seize control of our data in an attempt to steal identities, take over accounts, run up debts in your name, gain access to another system through the first open door, etc. Security experts and teams in businesses and every industry are in a constant fight to keep up with the new methods being deployed against our technology systems.
We need your help in safeguarding all of our systems from access gained through a variety of ways. The first access point into a system is to simply gain access to just one person’s account on any system. Once they have this access, they can then utilize a number of different techniques and tools to gain further access to sensitive data. We cannot easily block this with other systems, controls, or firewalls, because they have now gained access via one of our trusted accounts. By the time we are alerted to one of these account seizures, the damage is often done.
Therefore, we must continue to evolve our strategies on how we combat these vulnerabilities, starting with our most critical systems and working our way outwards to other platforms. One of the easiest methods being employed at all larger businesses, institutions across the globe, and mandated for all institutions by the State of Georgia (the USG for us), is to enable multi-factor authentication on all systems. We will be rolling out this new process for how we gain access to our network accounts (email) and those systems utilizing Single Sign On (SSO), for linked access in early 2019. This first step will involve only employees to begin with and will only be utilized on these systems (network, eMail-O365, VPN, Intranet, sites.highlands.edu, Banner 9, D2L, OneUSG, Alma Primo, Maxient, Campus Logic, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Navigate, Zoom, Open Athens). Other systems will follow. There is no timeline at this point, but students will also be included at some point in the future, as they are at all other institutions.
We realize this is a very large change for everyone, but a very necessary one as well. These new procedures will become part of the new process of gaining access to your accounts. You will enter your user name & password for the first step in account authentication and utilize another device for your second factor for authentication.