All in a day’s work

John Lawrence’s message from Dec. 4, 2017

An “unplanned” electrical outage left the Extension 4-H Building and a few other places on the north side of campus in the dark for a few hours one morning last week. Yet our extension folks persevered, until their computer batteries started getting low on juice and the WIFI went down as well. Then they packed up and headed for other parts of campus or home that had electricity and internet access and got back to business. Because dealing with changes in technology, of any kind, is all part of a day’s work for extension personnel.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that the university soon will roll out a new application to help protect our data. Keeping our data safe is all in a day’s work for our tech people. Did you know?

  • This new application, called Okta, will provide “single sign-on,” which means you will log in once to access all your work-related web applications – Office 365, Cybox, Qualtrics, Access Plus, etc.
  • Okta provides multi-factor authentication. This is stronger protection than your password alone. To log in to Okta, you will type in your Net-ID and password. You also will verify your identity using a second method, such as an application on your cell phone or a code sent via text message.
  • Multi-factor authentication relies on something you know (your password) and something you have (application, text message code, etc.). If your credentials (your Net-ID and password) were to be stolen, the thieves still would not have access to your data, because they would not have your phone or the text-message code.
  • The university plans to implement Okta early in 2018. Extension IT will keep us posted as we get closer to the implementation date.

We also have a responsibility to keep our data safe, and a best practice is to change our NET-ID passwords every six months. (I just changed mine on my computer and phone.) Follow the instructions from Extension IT or call the Computer Support Hotline at 515-294-1725. For regular IT updates, visit the Extension IT website and subscribe to Tech News.

A couple more notes

  • The Partnership Agreement (formerly known as the MOU) template/checklist to facilitate discussions among ISU Extension and Outreach, fair boards, and school boards locally is nearing completion. A brief video from the three state partners, the editable template and supporting materials soon will be available online. Check my update on Monday, Dec. 11, for details.
  • About that power outage – Facilities Planning and Management blamed it on a failed cable. The Extension 4-H Building was back online by noon.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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