On March 3rd email login will only be available through Microsoft Outlook accounts.
Currently, students are able to login one of two ways: through Masonlive, using Patriot Pass credentials or through Outlook, using a Masonlive Microsoft password.
“The technology that Microsoft uses to link to our Patriot Pass, they announced last year they were going to do away with it,” Tracy Holt, manager of service design for the Technology System Division said.
This change was originally planned for November, 2014, but was delayed when Microsoft announced they would extended the deadline and drop the service at the end of 2015 instead. Holt said the new site looks similar to the rest site for Patriot Pass credentials, and is expected to launch this spring. He said this extension has given his department time to construct a new Masonlive Microsoft password reset site, which will be an essential service after the login switch.
“The other issue we have with the Microsoft password is they’ve done away with a self-service reset,” Holt said.
Currently, if a student, faculty or staff member forgets his or her Masonlive Microsoft password, it must be reset through an external web service, which Holt said can be problematic.
“It’s really inconvenient for students who off hours need to get into the password reset or they’re not even at this campus, and they’ve got to do an identity proofing,” Holt said.
The new self-service reset site is intended to be considerably more convenient than this method of obtaining a new Microsoft password.
“The advantage of that, besides providing a nice clean interface for Mason, is that if for some reason you’ve forgotten your Microsoft password you can use your Mason password or your security questions to get in, so you’d have to be totally locked out to not be able to rest the Microsoft side.”
Holt said after a soft launch scheduled for sometime this month, TSD plans to make the new password site live either before or after spring break.
“Since we had more time, we decided to focus on getting the site put together,” Holt said. “And as with any website at Mason it’s taken a lot of revisions and things like that, but that’s all on track now, so we’re looking to having something this semester.”
According to Holt, the email login switch is not related to a university effort to increase security against cyber attacks. However, it may still result in cyber safety benefits.
“I would say it enhances [security] only because it’s using the same password change system we’re using for our credentials,” Holt said. “And that’s all been vetted by our security office and others to make sure they’re operating securely.”