2015 has been a sweeping year for Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT), particularly in the area of "technology renewal" — an extensive cross-team effort that brought changes including the new my.harvard portal from the Student Information System program, deployment of the Canvas platform by the Teaching and Learning Technologies program, and rollout of the new HarvardKey authentication system from the Identity & Access Management (IAM) program at HUIT.
A "single identity for life" spanning the Harvard Community, HarvardKey enables access to a wide range of applications and services users across Harvard use every day, via a single password. Introduced first to Harvard Alumni on Sep. 22, 2015 and rolled out in two subsequent waves to users in FAS, Central Admin, GSE, GSD, HDS, HLS, HMS, HSDM, HSPH, and SEAS, HarvardKey is poised to become the University's principal login credential in 2016. As of Dec. 17, more than 34,000 users had claimed a HarvardKey — with even more to come, particularly as students and faculty head in to winter break and make the switch post-finals.
"It's been an amazing effort, and we're so excited to see HarvardKey making a positive impact on how University users log in to the resources they use every day," says Jason Snyder, Harvard University chief technical officer. "HarvardKey's initial launch may only have been this past September, but the IAM team has been working hard behind the scenes for nearly two years to modernize foundational systems and pave the way for even more advances going forward."
In addition to a streamlined, easier-to-use login experience that works seamlessly across desktop and mobile devices, HarvardKey also offers users benefits in both convenience and security — convenience from self-service password reset and login name reminders, security from stronger password requirements and the ability to set up optional two-step verification on the user's phone or mobile device. In all, the benefits to users haven't gone unnoticed, with positive feedback including the following:
- "The new HarvardKey portal is beautiful!" - Harvard alumna (via Twitter)
- "HarvardKey is indeed very simple to set up" - Harvard Extension School student
- "The registration process is extremely intuitive. The whole process took less than 3 minutes." - Chris Rocco, Oracle EBS Product Manager, Financial Systems Solution
So with 2015 nearly behind us, what's next for HarvardKey in 2016? Quite a lot — from rollout to Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School early in the year, to further enhancements to add more self-service functionality. Watch this space for more announcements to come!