Over the past few weeks, I have received many calls about why Microsoft Outlook has stopped requiring our email addresses and OKEY passwords to be entered when we start our computers in the morning. After some investigating, here is what I’ve learned on the subject.
Recently, Microsoft changed how we access our email accounts in Outlook. Previously, when we opened Outlook first thing in the morning we were required to put in our credentials. Now, unless you change your password, this is no longer required, nor is it an option. This is because Microsoft felt that we should be logging into our computers after being away and that was authentication enough. After making a phone call to the Helpdesk on campus, I unfortunately learned, this is a permanent change and not something we have any control over. While I requested we have the ability to choose this setting, it may be several months before the change can be made, if at all. So what can we do to protect our email accounts? Below are a couple solutions for you to consider.
First, having a secure user password to log onto your computer that is unique to you (not the office) is highly recommended. This prevents anyone from walking up to your computer and accessing your files, emails, settings, or any other part of your computer you may not want others to access. If the reason you have a shared office password on your computer is for file access, we advise you consider setting up a file sharing system. This would allow co-workers on your network to access the files you give permission for while protecting your programs and other materials such as your email. Having multiple user accounts or guest accounts on your computer can also help minimize other people accessing your files and email.
The second option is to use remove your Outlook configuration from your computer all together and only use cowboymail.okstate.edu which you would access via your web browser (contact your support specialist for removal assistance). This has a couple pros to it. The webmail app requires you to enter your password anytime you check your email therefore allowing your email to stay secure from other users that may need on your computer. In addition, it has all of the functionality of the Outlook program without the headaches of downloading files. In addition, the webmail app does not log you out as it used to. You can open your web browser in the morning, open your email and then leave it open all day for easy access. Simply closing the browser will disconnect your email log in, preventing someone from accessing your personal emails.
I know this isn’t the answer many of you were looking for, but for now, these are the best and most secure options we can offer. If you would like assistance in setting up passwords, file sharing or accessing cowboymail.okstate.edu, please do not hesitate to contact your support specialist. We are here to help!