Published December 6, 2019
Updated January 22, 2020
UBITNames and passwords safeguard employees’ personal details, like tax and retirement information, and even home addresses.
Now, faculty and staff can take an extra step to ensure their information is secure by using the two-step Duo verification. Employees can upgrade their UBITName accounts now; two-step verification will required for all employees beginning Feb. 25. Students were required to upgrade by Nov. 18.
Two-step verification makes online accounts more secure by adding an additional step when logging in, usually a notification users approve on their phone, or a one-time security code they enter along with their password.
By pairing something employees have with something they know, like their password, the chances of someone getting ahold of private information without employees’ knowledge are virtually zero.
“It’s like taking the extra couple seconds to lock your car,” says Information Security Officer Mark Herron. “A little effort can make a big difference.”
Herron points out that online banking, social media and other online accounts are all rapidly adopting the new standard, in addition to almost every institution in the Association of American Universities (AAU), of which UB is a member.
UBIT consulted with faculty, staff and students to find out how to best balance security and convenience when designing the new service. The majority of UB faculty respondents in UBIT’s 2019 Faculty IT Survey said they felt the practice would be valuable at the university.
For UB employees working with financial information or faculty researchers analyzing protected health information or other Category I data, two-step verification automatically and dramatically reduces the likelihood that their accounts can be used to fraudulently access sensitive data, which could bring serious legal ramifications.
UBIT has addressed one common concern about two-step verification — that UB employees not be required to use their personal phone for the second step — by enabling USB security keys, hardware tokens, landline phones and paper security codes (which can be easily printed out) as possible alternative enrollment options.
For more information on the Duo two-step verification at UB, visit the Duo UBIT website. For assistance with Duo or UBITName accounts and passwords, contact the UBIT Help Center at 716-645-3542 or buffalo.edu/ubit/help.