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Hobart and William Smith Colleges Finds MFA Success

A New York institution has succeeded in getting its users to adopt multi-factor authentication. Hobart and William Smith Colleges began its MFA adoption in the 2019-2020 school year, tightening authentication procedures gradually among specific applications and web services and across its community of students, faculty, staff and network guests.

Recently, the institution, which is working with SecureAuth security products, had reached 100 percent adoption among its regular users.

MFA provides an additional layer of security beyond user name and password by requiring users to provide an extra credential, such as texting a just-in-time PIN or answering a challenge question.

Once a user has signed into a given service using MFA, the system remembers and trusts the same browser and device for 30 days. During that period, the user doesn't need to use the extra verification step for that service. (The exception is public computers like those in labs and classrooms.)

Mobile numbers are maintained in PeopleSoft and provided either by HR, when users are added, or through a self-service menu.

Aside from receiving a PIN to enter for authentication, users can also choose other delivery methods, including e-mail, voice and knowledgebase questions.

The selection of SecureAuth identity platform, according to Derek Lustig, the institution's director of Infrastructure and Security Services, was based on being able to "get federation, self-service password management and multi-factor authentication in one product" and being able to "go to one source for support."

Although users have settled into the use of MFA on campus, Lustig noted that the "fine-tuning" of authentication is continuing.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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