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Multi-Factor Authentication (Duo)

Securing Our Systems and Information Technology Resources

Securing information and information systems is an important responsibility of the University System of Georgia (USG) and all USG institutions. The Information Security Program at Georgia Highlands College (GHC), in consultation with the USG Department of Cybersecurity, has determined that systems relying solely on a username and password for authentication are increasingly at risk of compromise from social engineering attacks and poor password hygiene. In order to mitigate this risk, GHC requires multi-factor authentication (MFA) for employee and student single sign-on (SSO) accounts. Other forms of user accounts may also require MFA authentication.

Contact Information Technology (IT) if you encounter an issue or device problem that is not addressed within this guide. You can email to automatically create a help ticket or call our IT Help Desk at 706-295-6775 for an urgent issue.

Why use Multi-Factor Authentication?

Passwords are constantly compromised. They are often stolen or guessed using information found online. In many cases, victims of a password compromise may not be aware that their account is being accessed. Multi-factor authentication helps protect your accounts from unauthorized access in the event your username and password become compromised. Even if these credentials were guessed or stolen, the hacker would not be able to gain access without authorization using your second factor authentication method.


Why use Duo Security?

Duo Security is a service that provides multi-factor authentication for SSO accounts. Georgia Highlands College chose Duo Security as our multi-factor authentication provider based on the capabilities and flexibility included with the free Duo Mobile app for phones and tablets.


How Does it Work?

  1. Enter username and password as usual
  2. Use your phone to verify your identity
  3. Securely logged in

Once you’ve enrolled in Duo Security the first time, you will be ready to access a system quickly: You’ll login as usual with your username and password credentials, and then use your device to verify that it’s you. The Duo Mobile app is the easiest and most flexible way to sign in to your GHC accounts and is available for download from the App Store (IOS) or Google Play (Android). Even if your smartphone or tablet doesn’t have access to Wi-Fi or cellular data, you can still use the Duo Mobile app to generate a passcode in order to access your accounts. Duo Security also allows the use of multiple devices to your account, so you can use Duo Mobile on your phone and a WebAuthn security key as a backup device, for example.


How Does this Affect Me?

  • All employees are required to utilize Duo in order to access SSO services and secure institution systems.
  • Students are required to utilize Duo in order to access SSO services effective July 31st, 2020.
  • Multi-factor authentication is a requirement for all institutions within the University System of Georgia (USG).
  • Employees and students will receive a notification from the Duo Mobile app on their phone when attempting to sign on to email, Brightspace by D2L, and other GHC systems. Other forms of authentication are available if Duo Mobile isn’t available for your device.
  • Two types of physical devices can also be used with Duo.
    • A supported WebAuthn security key.
      • Yubico YubiKey Security Key, 4, 5, and newer
      • Google Titan USB Security Key
      • HyperFIDO Pro Mini Security Key
    • [Employees only] Duo Authenticator. If an employee is unable or unwilling to use a personally owned device for MFA, cannot legitimately use their desk phone because of their job requirements, or other specific, legitimate operational circumstance, then a hardware token request form can be completed for the use of a GHC-provided hardware token.  This form must also be signed by the employee’s supervisor and submitted to IT. Duo Authenticators are available on a limited basis.


Note: WebAuthn security keys may offered limited compatibility with specific devices or applications.