WorkCyte News January 2019

Happy New Year! This month, we’re taking a break from Workday and Improved Service Delivery to remind you about Okta, a cloud-based software service that helps keep your and the university’s information out of the hands of cyber criminals, and how to enroll before the March 1 deadline.

A new era of cyber protection for faculty and staff
Okta uses multifactor authentication, which is a fancy way of saying the software verifies you are who you say you are. Like taking both your passport and driver’s license to the airport. It’s a second layer of protection to ensure that, even if a hacker gained access to your log-in information, they would still be locked out of critical systems like AccessPlus, Workday, eData, and other Iowa State systems.

How it works
Let’s say you come to work tomorrow morning, turn on your computer, and enter your NetID and password. In the current system, that’s all you need to access many university systems, including databases that contain protected student and employee information.

Now, let’s say you want to go to AccessPlus and see if you have enough vacation time to take that trip to the Big 12 Basketball Championship in March. Using Okta, you will complete the additional step of approving the request – essentially verifying that it’s YOU who is trying to log into AccessPlus.

After entering your email address and Okta password, you’ll receive a notification on your mobile phone (or other method of your choosing) alerting you that the log-in request has been made. After confirming the request through the Okta Verify app, your computer will proceed to the AccessPlus landing page.

Isn’t that more work on my part?
Yes, and no. Yes, in that there is an initial step required to access university systems. But once you’ve completed the multifactor authentication process for the day, you won’t have to repeat it each time you want to access other university systems. So, in our example with AccessPlus, you can go back to AccessPlus later that morning without having to log-in a second time. So, for most employees, Okta will actually save time.

Keep in mind, however, that better securing your and Iowa State’s information would be well worth the effort, even without any other benefits.

Next step: enroll!
Now that you know what Okta is, and why it’s important for both you and the university, it’s time to enroll. Twenty percent of faculty and staff are already enrolled in Okta, and we’re looking to get to 100 percent by March 1. To get started, visit, choose your preferred authentication mode, and then pat yourself on the back for enhancing cybersecurity at Iowa State.

Enrollment tips
In general, Okta works best with updated operating systems on your mobile devices and computers. When setting up multifactor authentication on a mobile device:

  • Android users will need to switch to the Outlook app for email. The Outlook app can be set up to open Gmail accounts as well as Iowa State email, or users can continue using their normal mail app (Gmail, for example) for personal mail, and Outlook for university business.
  • Apple users will need to reset their Iowa State email profile.

Faculty and staff using Apple laptop and desktop computers will need to upgrade to Mojave prior to enabling multifactor authentication (Outlook users do not need to be upgraded).

The IT Solution Center is always available to answer any questions you have, and to help you through any issues you have getting started. They can even make a house call if you and several colleagues want to set up multifactor authentication at the same time!

For more information …
Look for more information on WorkCyte each month through this newsletter. You can also read more about the initiative in Inside Iowa State, and on the project website: