SafeConnect - Network Access Control
The SafeConnect service is brought to you by The Division of Information Technology, in coordination with the Department of Privacy and Security. The UTPA SafeConnect appliance is a network access control (NAC) device that helps ensure those individuals who are connecting to the UTPA network meet our minimum security standards prior to gaining full access to the network.
With the implementation of the SafeConnect Authentication Portal, UTPA strives towards helping you keep your work and study environments free from those operational issues that could otherwise compromise and harm your computer.
Hours of Availability
SafeConnect Service is available 24x7, 365 days of the year, for those areas enrolled in the SafeConnect environment.
Please contact the IT HelpDesk at 956-665-2020 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with this service.
Students Faculty Staff
Q:What is SafeConnect and why is it being used?
SafeConnect is a network access control (NAC) device that helps ensure those individuals who are connecting to the UTPA network meet our minimum security standards. SafeConnect accomplishes this by requiring that all Windows and Macintosh devices install a small security PolicyKey Agent on the computer after authenticating with your UTPA username and password. Before authentication and policy key installation, all internet access will be restricted to the UTPA homepage and sites allowing you to meet the current UTPA security standards.
Q:How do I receive and install the policy key agent?
If you have not already logged on to the UTPA SafeConnect environment prior to this time, and connecting with a machine not already in the UTPA domain, the SafeConnect appliance will automatically prompt you to download and install the agent when you attempt to connect to an internet web site. When prompted, follow the instructions presented by the installer to proceed through the installation process. The PolicyKey Agent will be installed as an application service and will start automatically each time you start up your computer and connect to the SafeConnect network. If you are using a UTPA domain machine you will not be prompted to install this agent since the Policy Key Agent will have already been installed to your machine, prior to this, using SMS.
Q:Do I have to use the SafeConnect Policy Key?
Yes, All Microsoft Windows PCs and Macintosh computers are required to have the policy key installed to operate on the UTPA network. This requirement helps ensure a safe operational environment for all who use the UTPA network. Currently, Linux, and FreeBSD machines are not required to install the SafeConnect Policy Key, but will still be required to authenticate.
Q:What does the SafeConnect Policy Agent actively do on my system?
The SafeConnect Policy Agent continuously validates that your system meets the minimum security standards currently in place on the UTPA network.
Q:What about my privacy?
Of course your privacy is of the utmost importance to us here at the University, along with providing you the ability to experience a safe, productive, and enjoyable work and learning environment. The SafeConnect Policy Agent scans only for what is needed on your computer to meet the current UTPA network security standards. For example this may include various Windows updates, running services, antivirus, malware, and anti-spyware software. Your UTPA authentication credentials, MAC address, client IP, and related information is collected for proper system function and client protection; however no personal user data is being stored or collected by the SafeConnect system.
Q:If I am quarantined, can I access remote sites to update my system?
Yes, if you are quarantined by the University’s SafeConnect system you will still be allowed to reach certain sites such as Microsoft, and several authorized anti-virus websites to help bring you system into compliance. If you have any further questions about you system being quarantined please contact the UTPA Information Help Desk at x2020.
Q:How often will I be prompted to log in to UTPA SafeConnect?
Once logged in, you will not be prompted to enter your credentials again, under most circumstances, for a specific period of time once authenticated. You will not be prompted to re-install the SafeConnect Policy Key Agent again unless it has been removed since last accessing the SafeConnect environment. Currently, SafeConnect does not offer an agent for Linux users. Therefore, Linux users must log in through the Web Portal page each time they connect to the network.
Q:What are the benefits of utilizing the SafeConnect environment in our network?
The SafeConnect Policy Agent and Authentication portal is part of UTPA’s effort to help you keep your work and study environments free from those operational issues that could otherwise compromise and harm your computer. Devices protected in this way generally perform much better and require much less downtime due to damage caused by malicious software or network activity. In addition, the SafeConnect Policy Agent helps to ensure that the average user has the fastest possible browsing experience while connected to the University’s network. It accomplishes this by ensuring that the unwanted communications do not flood the University’s Internet connection, resulting in much slower connections for legitimate bandwidth use or by restricting certain applications that would otherwise consume an unjustifiably large share of the Universities bandwidth, again resulting in a much degraded connection for the majority of users.
Q:Will my computer still work when I connect to my home or other network?
Yes, the SafeConnect Policy Key agent remains active only when you computer is connected to the UTPA network. When connecting to any other network, the agent is dormant and will not interfere in any way with your home or other network communication.
Q:Can I connect my XBOX, Playstation, or other Non-Computer equipment to the UTPA network from University housing and the dorms?
Yes. SafeConnect will recognize game consoles and other non-computer devices automatically and allow them on to the network with no authentication necessary. On the wired network, all you need to do is plug in your Ethernet cable and your device will be recognized and allowed to connect to the internet.
If you have any problems connecting your non-PC device to the network, please contact the IT Help Desk at x2020.
Q:Where can I find more information pertaining to security and network use policies here at UTPA?