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Additional security measure to expand to many UGA technology services

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Access to major systems at the University of Georgia will soon require the use of Archpass, UGA’s two-factor authentication tool, according to vice president of information technology Timothy M. Chester.

“Two-factor authentication is something that I envision rolling out for all systems for all students and employees in the next 18 months,” Chester said during his annual State of Technology address at the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library November 16.

Two-factor authentication was initially implemented at UGA in 2013 to protect University systems holding sensitive and restricted data.

Two-factor authentication requires “something you know,” such as a password and “something you have,” such as a physical device to access specified systems. This process requires users to verify their identities by providing both a password and a physical device.

At UGA, the “something you have” is a mobile device, tablet or landline enrolled with Archpass used in conjunction with a UGA MyID password to access UGA systems.

Requiring two-factor authentication can help prevent fraudulent log-ins and will add an extra layer of protection to the systems university students and employees use every day.

Archpass is currently used to access restricted and sensitive data. Archpass will be expanded in phases. Beginning in January 2017, use of Archpass will be required to access the Remote Access Virtual Private Network (VPN).

“There’s a simple reason for that. Every time a hacker in Russia, Korea or Asia gets their hands on a MyID and password, the first thing they do is remote VPN into our campus systems and start looking around,” Chester said. “We need to prevent them from accessing our network, and two-factor authentication is going to help us do that.”

vLab, the University’s virtual computer lab, will be the first system with many student users to require Archpass, Chester said, with plans to implement the change in the spring of 2017. There are also plans to eventually require Archpass to log into Athena, he said.

“This is the way the world is going,” Chester said. “Most video game networks require two-factor authentication to log-in. The technology for two-factor authentication is evolving and getting better, and we will make improvements as it does.”

At this time, Archpass will not be required to access the on-campus wireless and wired networks or UGAMail. 

During the address, Chester also addressed technology milestones and goals in other areas, including:

  • Continued growth in the university’s internet usage and the number of wireless devices on campus. The University’s internet usage has increased from 1.36 gigabits consumed in September 2011 to 6.72 gigabits consumed in November 2016. The number of wireless devices on the University’s wireless network has also increased, from 6,500 in September 2011 to 73,600 in November 2016. Over the past year, most of the University’s residence halls have received wireless upgrades. Chester said there are plans for 2017-2018 to replace all the legacy wireless access points across campus. Having a robust campus network is vital to support University researchers who need to share data, he said.
  • A four-year initiative, called UGA’s OneSource Project, to replace the finance, human resources and payroll systems with a new system, powered by PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft applications for finance will be deployed at the university level; UGA will join the University System of Georgia for a shared system for payroll and HR functions.
  • Increased training for researchers using the University’s high-performance computing resources. Over the past year, more than 1,000 researchers have gone through training workshops to use the high-performance computing clusters at the Georgia Advanced Computing Resources Center (GACRC).
  • The implementation of a new data management website (datamanagement.uga.edu) to provide a single online source for campus data and information sources, as well as more efforts to improve data access for executives and University leaders. Access to better data leads to improved outcomes for students, Chester said. There are plans for an improved advising platform to help increase engagement between students and their advisors, as well as more tools to help advisors identify and support students before problems develop.

For more information about ArchPass, please visit archpass.uga.edu.

The State of Technology address can be viewed on Blackboard Collaborate.