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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

IT systems announce multi-factor identification for students

Ed Hardie/Unsplash


Following the transition to Microsoft, TCC students can expect a newly implemented security feature to their sign-in process. This feature: multi-factor identification. 

It will be implemented Oct. 13, and the decision follows the The Gramm Leach Bliley Act asking education institutions that get federal funding to have an extra sign-in step. Multi-factor identification requires the individual signing into something to get past two or more security sign-ins. 

“It’s basically to protect the students,” Martin Patrick, director of administrative systems for TCC, said.  

The current exceptions to this are the early collegiate highschool and dual credit students. This is due to accommodating the specific phone-use policies each high school has for their students.  

Because of this, the IT systems team is working with the deadline set out by the The Gramm Leach Bliley Act to get as many students under the two-factor umbrella as they can from the start. 

“This buys us some time to develop another solution, because we want every student to have the extra layer of security no matter what,” Patrick said. “Because it’s like I said, there’s 105 high schools that feed into us, and a lot of them have different and unique policies about [phones], that we have to try to come up with answers that allow them to stay within their policies and still provide them the security they need.”  

Starting off, students will not have the choice to pick their second-step identification and will instead be required to use their phone number for SMS verification.  

System Administrator Pamela Petro explained this would be the easiest form of authentication for students, but this may change in the next year.  

To accommodate students who may not have access to cellphones, Petro said that the 24/7 tech support line will provide temporary access passes to students. Along with this, she said there is a plan to implement phones in TCC libraries that direct a call to the support line. 

“The libraries, they’re looking forward to it because they answer a lot of questions for students,” she said. “And this will give them some place they can direct the students to.” 

The only stipulation to these passes are their shelf life of 30 days. Afterwards, they must be renewed again. But, Patrick affirmed that the process was easy. After the user inputs their password, they will be prompted for the temporary access pass.  

Requesting a pass is immediate, as well, and does not require time in-between to get one.  

Logging into TCC supplied applications will prompt students with multi-factor identification, like signing into Microsoft 365. Students using workstations will not be prompted, however.  

NE student Enzo Mortimer uses multi-factor identification in his own life. He explains that he implements it for his most important sign-ins for security.  

He is most familiar with SMS verification, and believes it’s the easiest form to use.  

He says that moving towards more security for TCC accounts is a good idea, and that students should stay educated on keeping their accounts secure.  

“I think it’s just good to know the possibility of if anything happened, and ways to be able to secure your accounts,” he said. “Especially if it has, like all of your information for school in it.” 

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