New platform will provide portal to multiple applications

Raise your hand if you have too many passwords. On campus, that soon will change thanks to a contract the university signed earlier this year with Okta, an identity and access technology company that will help ISU create a secure, single sign-on platform for users to access university systems.

Once signed on to the Okta platform, users are just a click away from applications such as Outlook, CyMail or Cybox -- without navigating another login screen. Chief information security officer David Cotton said users will have a unique identifier to initially log into Okta, such as their ISU email address. 

"People may have a dozen or more passwords to remember right now," Cotton said. "The identity and access management interface will give you a portal to access the major systems you use today, as well as those that may be added in the future. The goal is to streamline the user experience while providing the appropriate level of protection."

Cotton said the Okta platform will be rolled out in phases over the summer and fall, with careful consideration of activities and campus community input to develop a detailed implementation schedule. The first phase will focus on access to services common to students, faculty and staff, such as Microsoft applications, CyMail and Cybox.

Okta's identity and access management platform also will, in essence, create a virtual security barrier and protect most of the university-wide (enterprise) systems -- including the Workday finance, human capital management, payroll and student information systems.

"Okta and associated efforts, such as a forthcoming password change campaign, ensure Iowa State is compliant with the Board of Regents’ information technology security policy -- authentication systems that support password length, complexity and renewal requirements -- and any requirements for use of multifactor authentication," Cotton said.