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Changes in Authentication Services Greet the New Academic Year

By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing

A new account management system has been put in place for managing EUID passwords and other aspects of online login accounts.  The new management page is located at http://ams.unt.edu/ and is similar to the previous UNT Internet Services account management page, but now serves a much wider suite of applications.

Background and History of the EUID System

Online services are an increasingly important part of the University's operation.  Students, in particular, are aware of this change, whether it's using online registration to schedule their classes, viewing their tuition charges via Web Bills, or checking their grades online.  With the coming change to the University's administrative information technology systems, faculty and staff will also be using more and more Web-based applications to access various services provided to support their work at UNT.

In order to provide online information in a secure and accessible environment, an authentication system is needed to ensure that a request for service is actually coming from a person who is eligible to receive that service.  Authentication requires a username that is recognizable to a number of different online systems and a password which is known only to the person requesting access.  For a number of years, UNT has been using an electronic username called an EUID (Enterprise-wide UserID) to provide universal login to a number of online systems. 

EUIDs were first used for providing student Internet E-mail accounts on ACS UNIX systems.  As UNT Internet Service was developed to include E-mail, personal web pages, and dialup access, EUIDs were expanded to serve as login values for all of those systems.  In order to have EUIDs available for use in a number of different online systems, in Fall 1999 an EUID database was developed using the LDAP directory services protocol and EUID values were assigned to all students, faculty, and staff known to the administrative computing systems (SIMS and HRMIS).   EUIDs are now used for access to UNT Library electronic resources, various online student services, student E-mail (EagleMail), and many other UNT intranet-based facilities.

Most recently, the EUID database has been migrated to Novell's eDir LDAP server platform and management of that server has been transferred to the Computer and Information Technology Center's Network Computing Services division.   In addition, the LDAP service which provides authentication for EagleMail has been migrated to eDir as well, allowing the quick synchronization of passwords and other data between it and the central EUID server.  As before, EUIDs are assigned based on data entered into the SIMS and HRMIS systems and are automatically generated when a student enrolls or when an employee is placed on the payroll.

Impact of Recent Changes

Recent changes are just one step toward creating a single-signon environment for online applications at UNT.  Single-signon allows you to use the same username and password to access all online systems.  On the one hand, it is more convenient to you because it means that you don't need to remember a slew of UserIDs and passwords.  On the other hand, it means that you must be more diligent in setting a secure password and guarding it from discovery by others.

To that end, the new account management system includes a secret question and password feature that helps to identify you if you've forgotten your password and need to reset it.  You can pick from a number of pre-selected questions and provide an answer that is personal to you.  When picking your question, you should choose one for which the answer is obvious to you but not known to others. 

Other changes which came with the new configuration include:

  • individuals will now only have one EUID for use with all UNT applications -- some people who were both students and employees at UNT have had their EUIDs consolidated, with their ongoing EUID being the one associated with their primary role at UNT (i.e., student or employee);
  • some systems which use EUID for authentication now use your secure password, rather than UNT ID number for access -- in particular this includes the UNT Libraries electronic resources;
  • the Remedy trouble call tracking system used by the CITC helpdesk and other support areas on campus now uses your EUID and secure password for login access;
  • personal web page management is no longer part of the account management system and now runs on the people.unt.edu server, but still requires EUID and secure password for access;
  • students will automatically have an EagleMail mailbox created for them when their EUID is created -- faculty/staff will no longer be required to have an EagleMail mailbox to set and use a secure password;
  • WebCT will continue to use EUID for login, but maintain a separate password until WebCT Vista comes into production.

Future Developments

As this academic year progresses you may notice a number of services which use your EUID and password for authentication.  If you don't already have a secure EUID password, you can visit http://ams.unt.edu/ to create your password and set your secret question and answer. Some UserIDs, such as your mainframe or Novell Netware login IDs, will remain unchanged for now, but eventually it may be possible to use one username for all of your login access.

As the PeopleSoft EIS system comes on line, faculty and staff will be using their EUID to connect to these new administrative applications.  There are also plans to create a comprehensive E-mail directory which will allow faculty and staff to set their preferred E-mail address.  Finally, use of eDir as the LDAP database will allow eventual tighter integration with the Novell Enterprise directory used to support faculty and staff desktop computing. 

While the transition to the new authentication service is complete, it may have generated or may still generate questions from you regarding your EUID status.  If you can't address those questions via the Account Management System , feel free to contact the CITC helpdesk via E-mail (helpdesk@unt.edu) or phone (940-565-2324).