Duo Two-Factor Authentication Bolsters Security of University’s Information Resources

  • Over the past three years, Baylor University has taken major steps forward to protect the security of its most vital, widely-accessed University and personal information resources by implementing Duo two-factor authentication across all of its online resources. (iStock)
  • Two-factor authentication strengthens security by requiring two different methods to verify a user’s identity. In Baylor’s case, users receive a push notification through the Duo mobile app, which provides a second factor of authentication through a smartphone, tablet or Apple Watch. (Baylor Media and Public Relations)
Jan. 29, 2019

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
Follow Lori on Twitter at @LoriBaylorU
Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (Jan. 29, 2019) – Phishing scams that look like email messages coming from legitimate enterprises. Massive data breaches at well-known national companies. It’s more important than ever to protect information resources, from the highest organizational level to one’s own personal information.

Over the past three years, Baylor University has taken major steps forward to protect the security of its most vital, widely-accessed University and personal information resources by implementing Duo two-factor authentication across all of its online resources.

“Passwords alone have not proven strong enough to protect access to information systems. Adding a second layer of security through the use of Duo two-factor authentication to protect our data resources has significantly increased the difficulty of breaching an account,” said Jon Allen, interim chief information officer at Baylor.

The University is in the midst of a weeklong awareness campaign in conjunction with Data Privacy Day, an international effort launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to educate campus about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. Other helpful data privacy resources, including tips on securing passwords, protecting yourself from phishing scams, safely navigating social networks and performing “digital” spring cleaning, are available at Baylor's Data Privacy Day 2019 site.

Two-factor authentication strengthens security by requiring two different methods (also referred to as factors) to verify a user’s identity. These factors include something the user knows, such as a username and password, plus something that requires live interaction. In Baylor’s case, users receive a push notification through the Duo mobile app, which provides a second factor of authentication through a smartphone, tablet or Apple Watch.

Employing Duo two-factor authentication protects against phishing, social engineering and password attacks and secures logins from attackers exploiting weak or stolen credentials.

Baylor first began using Duo two-factor authentication in 2016, when users of BearWeb – the interface that enables members of the Baylor community to access critical information, including course registration, grades, payroll and other personal student and employee information – began signing in with a second “factor” of authentication delivered from the Duo mobile app. The move substantially increased the security of the BearWeb system, Allen said.

In October 2017, Baylor expanded two-factor protection to include Canvas, Box and many of the University’s other single sign-on services, further protecting faculty, staff, and student personal information, sensitive research data and other University information and resources stored within these and other online platforms. In October 2018, Baylor expanded Duo coverage once again to include Microsoft 365 and all remaining single sign-on resources.

Baylor ITS also leverages a popular Duo feature that remembers the device where the login originated for seven days. This functionality limits the number of times users are required to respond to a notification from Duo.

To learn more about Baylor’s implementation of Duo two-factor authentication, visit www.baylor.edu/its/2factor.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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