Single Sign On and What It Means For You

Late in the 3rd week of August, 2013, Northwest Information Technology discovered that changing a network password remotely may take up to 24 hours to sync with a university email account; this proved to be troublesome to say the least. What this means is that if a student, alumni, staff, or faculty member were to call the HelpDesk and have his or her password reset, he or she still would not be able to access his or her email. So what about that important email assignment that is due at midnight? Or that room change that needs to be communicated to your entire organization? As you can see, there were many potential problems associated with the backlog of password changes, and something needed to be done to correct the problem.

As a result of the issues at hand, the Northwest Information Technology team promptly contacted Microsoft to see what could be done. In short, Microsoft developed a system that would allow a user’s Northwest network password to be the same as the user’s email account password which could have previously been changed via the Microsoft Office 365 website. Changing your password through the Microsoft website allowed a user to have a separate password for both his or her email account and Northwest network account(s). This password inconsistency is no longer an issue with the recent implementation of what is referred to as “single sign-on”.

The implementation of the single sign-on system caused several unexpected issues that Information Technology team was unaware of. For instance, students, alumni, and staff and faculty alike who had not changed their passwords within 180 days would now have expired passwords, disabling them from logging into their email accounts. This created quite an influx of calls to the HelpDesk from concerned patrons about the status of their email and other Northwest accounts. The resolution for this unexpected issue is as simple as changing your password while connected to the Northwest network.

For more information on changing your password to regain access to your email and other Northwest accounts, please visit the subsequent article: http://blogs.nwmissouri.edu/ISNews/2013/02/01/mynorthwest-wont-let-me-log-in/.

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