What is Active Directory?

Active Directory is a system that allows Information Technology to easily manage a number of network resources, such as shared printers and documents. Through the implementation of Active Directory, Information Technology will be able to provide faculty and staff with a more stable, flexible, and secure environment to access these resources.

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What are the benefits of Active Directory?

  • Secure Access
    • You will have your own individual Active Directory account and network storage space, preventing unauthorized access to private information.
  • Document Synchronization
    • Your My Documents folder is backed up on the Active Directory server, allowing an additional possibility for file recovery, should data become lost or corrupted.
  • Cached Login
    • Even if your computer loses connection to the internet, you will still be able to log in to access and work on documents that are stored on the hard drive.
  • User Mobility
    • By logging into any computer that has been migrated to Active Directory, you will be able to gain access to documents that have been synchronized to the Active Directory server.
  • Instant Account Generation
    • If you are a new employee, you can apply for an Active Directory account on any office computer that has been migrated to Active Directory and your account will be generated instantly.
  • Work Order Integration
    • In the future, we will be linking your Active Directory to our online Information Technology work order tracking system. This will allow you to directly place requests for technical assistance, review possible solutions you can implement yourself, review or update the status of your requests, and close requests that have already been resolved.

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What other changes can I expect from Active Directory?

In Spring of 2009, an auditor from the University System of Georgia performed a security and infrastructure audit at Valdosta State University. Based on the policy changes that were required by the auditor, Information Technology will be implementing the following changes with the migration to active directory:

  • Software Installation and Removal
    • Based on the method Active Directory uses to manage accounts, users will no longer be able to install or uninstall software. If there is a software package that you need installed or removed from the computer, please contact the Information Technology Helpdesk at 229-245-4357 or send an e-mail to helpdesk@valdosta.edu. The Helpdesk will place a work order for a technician or administrator to install or remove the software for you.
  • Password Policies
    • All campus computers will need to be protected by secure passwords. To ensure they are secure, the following criteria will be enforced with Active Directory passwords:
      • Passwords must be changed every fourty-two (42) days.
      • Passwords must be at least eight (8) characters in length.
      • Passwords must contain:
        • At least one number
        • At least one lower-case letter
        • At least one upper case letter
        • When changing passwords, you may not re-use one of your previous five (5) passwords.
  • Individual Accounts
    • The university will no longer be using group accounts, for example a single account for all graduate assistants for a department. Instead, users will be eligible for their own Active Directory accounts.
  • Employee versus Student Computers
    • Students will not be able to log into employee (faculty / staff) computers. This includes student assistants working for that department. Instead, they will have separate computers set up to perform their work duties.
  • Inactivity Timeout
    • All computers on Active Directory will automatically lock after fifteen (15) minutes of inactivity. At this point, the computer cannot be accessed until the same user logs in with his or her Active Directory password. After a total of (30) minutes of inactivity, the user will be logged off of Active Directory altogether.

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What should I do if I do not remember my Active Directory password?

If you forget your Active Directory password, please use our Self-Service Password Reset Tool to set a new password. If you encounter issues while using this tool, please contact the Information Technology Helpdesk at 229-245-4357 or send an e-mail to helpdesk@valdosta.edu.

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Can guests of the campus create an Active Directory account?

Unfortunately, only currently enrolled students and current employees are eligible for Active Directory accounts. Guests, such asvisitors or alumni, who need computer access can access public computers located on the second floor of Odum Library next to the Circulation Desk.

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What are the differences between logging out and locking my computer?

The following table will help explain the differences and advantages that are offered between logging out of Active Directory and when locking the account on the machine.

What it does
What it does not do
Logging Off
  • Allows the computer to clear the cache.
  • It allows the computer to reset the connection to Active Directory
  • Allows for updates to take be finished.
  • Does not save your sessions data for the next time you get onto the machine
  • Not as quick as locking the machine when logging onto and off of the machine.
Locking Computer
  • Saves the session data for next time you log onto your machine. This keeps all programs and files open that are running when you lock the machine.
  • Allows for user to be quicker to lock the machine if the client has to walk away.
  • Quicker to log in to the computer
  • Does not clear the cache on the machine.
  • Does not finish updates that need to occur on the machine.
  • Does not reset the connection to Active Directory which could lead to being locked out of the machine.

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