A Range of Challenges, A Range of Solutions

Different solutions are good fits for various institutions based on their needs and issues; password security challenges differ widely by school size, budget and focus. Here are three examples of PortalGuard solutions in action at three very different institutions.


This institution, a mid size college in the Northeast, had purchased a third-party self-service password reset product two years ago, but the system never got off theground. Issues centered on an inability to get students to enroll, and a cumbersome user-licensing model.

User participation is a common problem self-service password reset tools -- simply getting students to enroll initially so that passwords can be securely reset later if needed.

With PortalGuard Sidecar in place, the school asked students to enter passwords and set up personal challenge answers during their first attempt to login to Microsoft Outlook Web App(OWA). That ensured password reset was in place immediately. Portal Guard won points with students for its flexibility during a reset, allowing a choice between answering any three previously answered questions, or having a one-time password sent to their mobile phone.

With Sidecar mode, participation can be requested from any existing HTML login form. That means that PortalGuard can prompt for enrollments anywhere, without making users change their current behavior or learn a new system – leading to much higher participation.


At this midsize college in the Southeast, expired passwords weren't adequately conveyed on the Outlook Web App login screen, leading to confusions in the correct password was supplied but did not result in successful login. Students and faculty contacted IT with questions, leading to increased staff time on inconsequential issues.

Once PortalGuard was installed, it was configured to send students clear, multiple, pre-emptive“expiration reminder”emails that included a link for updating passwords immediately. PortalGuard was also configured to ask users to enter challenge answers at that point,thus enabling self-service password reset later.


This small community college in the Midwest had separate logins for Google Apps, Moodle and Blackboard, costing IT staff time and effort in maintenance. Because budget is such a factor at most institutions -- even moreso for state and community colleges -- a cost-effective single sign-on solution can mean huge savings.

At this college, PortalGuard introduced SAML-based single sign-on, thus reducing manual logins from three separate screens and processes,to a single unified portal login – also branded with the college logo and color theme. The solution also allowed IT to selectively enforce two-factor authentication.