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IT completes switch from Duo to Okta

February 2, 2024

On Tuesday, Bowdoin Information Technology (IT) services finalized the transition from Duo Security to Okta Verify for all Bowdoin email accounts.

Pronounced awk-tuh, Okta offers more multi-factor authentication options to users than Duo, introducing biometric verifications such as the ability to use TouchID on MacBooks or FaceID on iPhones. This allows students, faculty and staff to log into their Bowdoin accounts without opening an app to confirm a push notification, enter a pin or respond to a phone call like they had to when the College used Duo.

Students have been asked by IT to enroll in Okta since August. The Class of 2027 enrolled in Okta when they received their Bowdoin email accounts. All other students currently enrolled at the College were prompted by IT to switch from Duo to Okta since they initially sent an email about the transition to sophomores, juniors and seniors on August 17.

In that email, IT projected the original deadline to switch to Okta would be in mid-October, but the deadline was extended to Tuesday, which has allowed students more time to switch multi-factor authentication platforms.

Multi-factor authentication has been proven to add a layer of security to personal information. According to Okta’s website, multi-factor authentication supports the protection of online information without severely hindering the user experience. Thus, IT uses multi-factor authentication to ensure that the digital privacy of Bowdoin students, faculty and staff is maintained. This also advances one of their 2023–2026 strategic priorities, which focuses on increasing cybersecurity.

According to an email sent to all sophomores, juniors and seniors on Tuesday, 75 percent of students had enrolled in Okta prior to that day’s transition deadline. Student employees of the IT office working the Smith Union’s Tech Hub noted the process has been relatively smooth on their end.

“I’ve had very few people come into the Tech Hub to ask about Okta,” Tech Hub worker Duncan Brown ’26 said. “There have been a few anomaly cases, but we resolved most of those in a few minutes.”

Students can still enroll in Okta Verify if they have not done so yet, but they will be locked out of Bowdoin logins until then. This has slowed down some students this week in accessing their Bowdoin email, but Tech Hub worker Ulemj Munkthur ’26 has observed the transition to be relatively easy.

“The article [about enrolling in Okta] is pretty straightforward.… I would recommend that to most people,” Munkhtur said, referencing the Bowdoin webpage’s instructions.

Any students, faculty or staff still facing issues in the transition to Okta are encouraged by IT to visit student workers in the Tech Hub.


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