A Thursday Afternoon Pet Peeve

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that in order to participate in the world of distance education, more usernames and passwords are required. Ok, I can deal with this – after all, I use the course management system, the email/portal and library resources quite frequently. This helps ensure that I don’t forget my usernames and passwords. However, as many places do, SCSU requires that one change their email/portal system password every 90 days. This username and password is also the one used for the course management system (which is new this semester). What I would like to know is why every 90 days? I know this is a standard time frame – I run across it all the time. But, why can’t an educational institution make the time frame run for a whole semester. I hate changing my password in the middle of the semester. I had to change it yesterday – and I know it will take me a good 1-2 weeks to stop typing in my old one!! It would be much easier if we had to change our passwords at the beginning of each semester – or even if we had the option of developing our own password aging scheme. This I would like. It really, really is the little things that can drive one insane . . . . . .


4 Responses to A Thursday Afternoon Pet Peeve

  1. Iris says:

    Ugh. I know EXACTLY what you mean. And my once-every-90-days torture is compounded by the fact that we’re now required to have a minimum of 15 characters in our passwords. Not to mention numbers and special characters… The IT people say they’ve given up looking at the logs of the times when people mistype their passwords because everybody does it multiple times every day with the new password procedures.

  2. Jason says:

    At my university, the cycle is 70 days(?). Reminders pop up two weeks in advance, and I usually wait until the final day or two to figure out one. You also have to go through six cycles before using the same password, which makes me agonize over which one to pick. I have this irrational fear that something will go wrong (which hasn’t happened… yet), and I’ll have to go through some rigmarole with the campus OIT department to be able to do my work.

    I went through this process just recently. In fact, I logged into a computer in the presence of one of our IT folks, who noticed the pop-up menu asking if I wanted to change my password. He asked me if I was going to change it, and I said I’d have to think of one. Upon hearing that, he commenced to tell me about some “easy” way that he generates new passwords for himself…. well, easy for him, but I was lost after about two sentences. I eventually came up with one of my own that I can remember easily.

    I have never heard of 15 character passwords. Great for hardcore techies, but not for the rest of us. Perhaps looking at the logs should indicate that such a system does not work well. If one wants to get rid of the 15 character passwords, this might be an instance where “the bean counters” might actually be helpful. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to intervene if password problems cost time and money (especially the latter).

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wow, 15 characters is a long password! Ours only have to be 8 characters – but mine are ususally much longer. We do have to contain at least three of the following four things: an English uppercase character (A-Z), a lower case one, one numeric character (0-9) and/or one non-alphanumeric character. We can reuse passwords after one change. 70 days is a new one – I would venture to guess more irritating than every 90 days.

    Overall, I think there should be some happy medium. I work in/ with IT – and I understand the need for better passwords and security. Yet, we need to find a balance between security and human nature. If an institution requires passwords that are too cumbersome (15 characters sounds like it might be), then people just write them down and keep them under their mousepads (or on post its on their monitors). What good does that do?????

    Anyway, I’m glad to know that I’m not alone with this frustration!!

  4. Iris says:

    I’m so jealous that you both get to reuse passwords! I never, ever get to reuse a password. Grrrr.

    I guess I’ll just try to think of it as my IT department’s crusade against Alzheimer’s.

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