The Division of Information Technology, in coordination with the Department of Privacy and Security, will soon be enhancing the security of our wired network through the deployment of the SafeConnect Network Access Control solution. Commonly referred to as NAC, this technology acts as a sentinel for our wired network. In Phase 1 all computing devices will be required to authenticate to the network before being granted access to the University's internal resources and the Internet. If you occasionally bring an asset from home or use a computing asset that is not centrally managed by IT you will be required to authenticate through the NAC solution and then to the network initially. Once your device is registered with SafeConnect, it will periodically ask for re-authentication approximately every two weeks. Phase 2 will introduce additional security features.
In Phase 2, basic security standards including the downloading and installing of operating system patches and updating anti-virus definitions will be required. Managed systems, although enrolled in the SafeConnect NAC environment, will not be impacted due to their domain association. Unmanaged systems, and personal computers connected to Ethernet ports in buildings where the SafeConnect NAC solution has been deployed will be quarantined until authenticated and screened for security settings. These machines will not be able to connect to internal network resources or use the Internet, except to download operating system updates and anti-virus definitions, until all requirements are met. To minimize any delays in the future, it is recommended that you keep your personal or unmanaged computer updated with the latest patches and anti-virus. Implementation of Phase 2 features will be announced at a later date.
The benefits of the SafeConnect NAC solution for the University include; preservation of limited computing resources for use by authorized users only, a safer computing environment through the prevention of malware distribution, and a better defined security perimeter.
The SafeConnect NACs solution will be implemented building by building, and will be announced ahead of time through BroncNotes and on the Division of Information Technology’s UTPA homepage. In addition, the full SafeConnect FAQ and UTPA’s Network Use Policy can also be found on the IT Division’s UTPA homepage. If you have any questions regarding the SafeConnect NAC implementation please contact Support Services at 665-2020.