Financial Services Manual (FIN)

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Effective: 7/3/1995

Revised: 11/1/2015

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FIN 114: Advantage Access Security

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To provide guidelines for improving Advantage access security

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University policy

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User IDs identify the person authorized to use a particular system or application, and passwords are keys that unlock access to those applications and systems. Maintaining a secure computer environment relies on individual users safeguarding and keeping private their access information, including changing their passwords on a regular basis. If an individual obtains the password to a user’s account, the user may be open to loss of data or unauthorized use of the account.

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CICS/RACF and Advantage Passwords

Using Advantage requires a minimum of three user IDs, each with a separate password. First, Cisco AnyConnect VPN client access is required to reach the servers on which Advantage resides. This is a service tied to users’ ASURITE IDs and the password is maintained in conjunction with ASURITE. Second, a CICS/RACF ID is required to login to the mainframe database environment. While this ID may be the same as ASURITE, the password is independent and must be changed every 90 days. The third ID is the Advantage ID itself, which consists of a unique username and password.

Guidelines for Maintaining Advantage Security

To assist in maintaining Advantage security, follow the guidelines below:

  1. Change the CICS/RACF password after receiving a new user ID.
  2. Change the CICS/RACF password at least every 90 days or if the password may have been compromised.
  3. Complete the appropriate forms and forward them to Computer Accounts or the Advantage Helpline whenever an Advantage user in the departmental unit:
    • is no longer employed or using Advantage
    • changes department or college


    • changes other demographic data (such as change in name)
    or whenever the list of authorized Advantage users for the department is updated. Detailed assistance is available from the Advantage Helpline at 480/965–2334.
  4. Follow all general password guidelines and security policies established by the ASU Information Security Office.

Choosing and Safeguarding Passwords

Words that have some connection to the user (e.g., names, addresses, telephone numbers, and initials) are the easiest to break. This type of information is public knowledge and should not be used to formulate a password. Common words should also be avoided as attackers have methods of trying any actual, dictionary-based words. Creativity is important in choosing a password. Combining the first letters from the words of a line in a favorite song along with a random number or letter is one way to form a good password that is cryptic yet easy to remember. A good password is one that is easy for the user to remember but meaningless to a would-be attacker.

Once the user has chosen a password, it is important to protect it. Users should avoid writing down passwords at all but, if necessary, they should be kept in a secure location away from the workstation. Users should treat computer accounts and passwords as a valuable, high-theft item.

Changing Passwords

CICS/RACF passwords should be changed regularly. The longer a password is in use, the riskier it becomes to use. If there is any reason to believe that the user’s password has been compromised or if the user notices someone watching his or her fingers while logging on to the system, the password should be changed at once.

Composing a Password

CICS/RACF passwords must be between six and eight characters in length and made up of alphanumeric characters (A through Z and 0 through 9). Blank spaces and dashes are not accepted. Advantage passwords are four alphanumeric characters in length and follow the same rules for composition.

Getting Help

Users who have forgotten or have difficulty with their CICSP password should contact the UTO Helpdesk at 480/965–6500. Users who have forgotten their Advantage password or have difficulty logging on to Advantage should contact the Advantage Helpline at 480/965–2334 on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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Additional Information

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To establish or update an Advantage user ID, see the Financial Servies, Financial References Web page.

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