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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Campus

Program combines University logins


UH is joining the nationwide initiative towards greater accessibility through the beta launch of AccessUH.

While students used to have to remember separate logins and passwords for interfacing with multiple university services — such as myUH, Blackboard, Parking and CougarCard — they can now go to accessuh.uh.edu to access all of these services with just their CougarNet username and password.

University Information Technology Executive Director David Johnson said the implementation of single sign-on capability has been in the works for several years.

“It’s only just recently that we found this was going to be simple,” Johnson said. “(The program is) something that you could run on your computer without having to download any software, or where we wouldn’t have to do any special extensive programming.”

He said SSO is not meant to replace current log in services, but ease students’ troubles in accessing them.

“You have a lot of things that you have to consider during your college career,” Johnson said.

“AccessUH is like a wrapper that goes around those things. When you go in, you can log in to MyUH and a variety of other things, and it will provide you with several other services that you want to use.

“Instead of replacing those services, it streamlines the way that you access those services.”

Many other universities are also looking for ways to reduce the number of school-related login information that students have to remember, Johnson said.

The University, is working towards having only a single username and password per student for the entire UH system, he said.

Accounts can be added as needed, Johnson said.

“We’ve been speaking to the library about adding the library services, and we’ve been speaking to other departments about adding other types of services,” Johnson said.

“We hope that eventually we can have one portal that will allow people to get into all the resources that they use on a regular basis.”

There are security risks involved in homogenizing account access across campus, but the rewards outweigh them.

“The main risk of passwords is people giving them out, or people having to write them down and then end up leaving it somewhere, or people forgetting to log out of the computer,” he said.

“If somebody steals your identity and gets your password they have access to more, but you’re trying to only protect one valuable commodity instead of trying to protect several valuable commodities.”

Complete uniformity in log-ins should not be expected any time in the near future, Johnson said.

“At this point, we’re going to keep working through it, try to add these services and get a better feel for how long it’s going to take to continue to build this site,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to achieve that goal of single sign-on, but we don’t have a firm deadline on that.”

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