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SMC switches to Active Directory

Alicia Smith | Tuesday, February 9, 2010

 As a way to make the technological network more efficient, the Information Technology department at Saint Mary’s College has recently adopted a new program. 

Active Directory will improve the current networking services that are offered on campus, Janice Thomasson, chief information officer said.
In order to make the switch, students were asked to follow a link provided by the Information Technology department. After typing in their usernames and passwords, students had made the switch. If students did not make the change by Feb. 1, they would be unable to access Bellaire, the wireless network on campus, as well as their Blackboard and Zimbra accounts.
“Students were asked several times in the last few weeks via e-mail to migrate to Active Directory and were warned they would be unable to get to Bellaire Wireless, their Saint Mary’s College e-mail or Blackboard if they did not do so,” Thomasson said. “Despite these requests some students still did not do so. The ResNet office in [Haggar College Center] did a brisk business on Monday, Feb. 1 with students who had not migrated.”
Active Directory will allow the Information Technology department the ability to manage the network on their own, Thomasson said.
“With it now in place, we can move forward with projects like self-service password changes, the ability to share files between departments and more collaborative opportunities,” she said.
According to Thomasson, Active Directory will help keep passwords away from phishers and offer additional storage space. 
“Active Directory manages our passwords and keeps them safe from prying eyes.  It also keeps your computer’s name unique so you can access the Internet,” Thomasson said.  “Additional storage will be offered in the year ahead as an Active Directory benefit.  Zimbra e-mail is also more robust with less downtime.”
According to Thomasson, most of the action is behind the scenes and the program allows the Information Technology staff to communicate more effectively and efficiently.
“It is a special way of organizing our network and its resources so users can communicate more efficiently,” she said. “Most of the Information Technology staff’s current Active Directory activity is behind the scenes, involving how end user information is managed on the network.”
Thomasson said the network will change because of the switch creating a more effective communication atmosphere.
“The way in which [the Saint Mary’s College] network is organized is changing since we migrated to Active Directory,” she said. “Those who are likely to often communicate or share files with each other will be configured so they can do this more efficiently.”