University Of Minnesota Uses Two-Factor Authentication Solution

Secure Computing Corp., a enterprise gateway security company, recently announced that University of Minnesota has selected the company's Secure SafeWord (formerly known as SafeWord) as a two-factor authentication solution for 8,000 staff and faculty members.

“Secure SafeWord provides an effective solution to the University’s authentication needs,” said Steve Cawley, vice president and chief information officer for the University of Minnesota. “It reduces risk and potential user frustration associated with fixed passwords.”

The Secure SafeWord solution replaces traditional password-based security. Prior to Secure SafeWord, university staff and faculty had to memorize multiple passwords. If someone forgot their user name or password settings, they had to call the help desk to request a password reset. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Roughly 30 percent of all IT help desk calls in North American involve password questions, and manual password resets that can be costly, according to Gartner Inc., the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm.

In stark contrast, Secure SafeWord eliminates the need to periodically remind university users to change their passwords and also the need to reset passwords if the user failed to change it. By simply pushing the Secure SafeWord button, users generate a new one-time passcode that is used with their PIN for authentication.

The deployed Secure SafeWord solution requires two pieces of information for someone to access approved systems:

  • Something the user has -- in this case, a token card carried by the user.
  • Something the user knows -- in this case, a user PIN.

The Secure SafeWord rollout initially involves the university’s Office of Information Technology, which manages the university’s servers and databases. The Secure SafeWord software has been implemented on OIT servers and Oracle Corp. databases, and currently is being implemented for enterprise Web applications. Eventually, users across of the entire campus will use the solution.

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