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Home | Frequently Asked Questions

In April 2011, Information Technology Services announced a business process for handling network and e-mail accounts designed to improve existing access to services. Previously, ITS maintained multiple separate network/e-mail domains - for example, PINE for students, NIS for faculty and CSLA for staff. Now all users are together in a single domain named AD. The AD domain prepared users to take advantage of two new online services - myCSULA Identity and MyCalStateLA Portal. Following are responses to frequently asked questions about AD, these two new services and their specific features.

1. Why was a single AD network domain necessary?

AD is the foundation for the myCSULA Identity service. In order for myCSULA Identity to authenticate every user as a unique individual, every individual must have a unique user id. Under the configuration of separate PINE, NIS and CSLA domains, it was possible for two individuals with the same first initial and last name to have identical user ids. For example, a student could be PINE\jsmith1 while a staff was CSLA\jsmith1. Moving everyone into one AD domain required issuing a new unique user id to some individuals.

2. How were duplicate User IDs resolved?

Faculty and staff were moved into AD first, so they retained their original user ids whenever possible. Any students requiring a new user id due to duplication received an e-mail notification. Their new user ids and passwords were available for pick-up at the ITS Help Desk after April 25, 2011. Those who cannot log into AD should contact the ITS Help Desk, 323-343-6170 or LIB PW Lobby, for assistance.

3. I am a University employee but I'm also a student. Will one AD account work for both roles?

No. Users with dual campus roles (i.e., concurrent staff and student or faculty and student) will retain separate accounts in AD for each role. These individuals will have specific user ids that align with the proper online resources for each role.

4. How do I log onto the AD domain?

The new log-on is AD\username. You will log on just as you did previously, but substitute AD for NIS, PINE or CSLA.

5. Will my e-mail address change?

No. If you already have an existing e-mail account, your e-mail address will remain the same.

6. How are new AD network accounts created?

New AD accounts are created automatically when new or updated student and employee information is received directly from the CSM HCM system (Human Resources/Student Administration (GET)). Faculty and staff no longer need to submit Network/E-mail Account Request forms for new accounts.

7. Can Third-party Service Providers or vendors still obtain an AD network account?

Yes, but they must submit a Third Party Network Access Request form for review and approval. The form is available at

8. We always hear about increased information security measures and strong passwords. Are there new standards for password creation in AD?

The answer is both yes and no. No, these are not new password standards. They are the same as those previously used by staff in the CSLA domain and issued to the campus at-large June 24, 2010 in ITS-2008-S Password Standards, available at But they are new for faculty and students. What is also new is AD's ability to enforce the password standards. Any password that does not meet the standards will be rejected and the user will be asked to try again.

9. What are the new password standards?

Passwords must:

  • Not contain the user's account name, first name, last name, e-mail, CIN or dictionary words.
  • Not repeat user's last 10 passwords.
  • Be between eight and 14 characters.
  • Contain characters from all of the following four categories:
    • Upper-case letters (A-Z)
    • Lower-case letters (a-z)
    • Base 10 digits (0-9)
    • Non-alphanumeric character (Examples: ~,!,@,#,$,%,^,*)

10. Why do we need such strong, complex passwords?

There are several reasons. Strong password creation is a CSU Trustees' standard for audit compliance. A poorly constructed password or one that is shared, intentionally or unintentionally, may result in the compromise of confidentiality, integrity and availability of CSULA resources. And finally, as we move toward reduced system sign-on through the MyCalStateLA Portal, a weak password guessed or otherwise obtained by an unauthorized individual can provide access to multiple resources, not just a single system.

11. I've read articles in magazines and on the Internet stating that strong passwords aren't really a deterrent to cyber crime. Why does the campus still insist upon having strong, complex passwords?

That is one opinion shared by some sources. But the University isn't audited against opinion. We are audited anually for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, CSU Trustees' technology and information security standards and CSU policy. To date, this opinion has not transformed laws, regulations, standards or policy, so we must continue to enforce strong passwords.

12. I can't remember complex passwords unless I write them down and that's not very secure. How can I remember these strong passwords?

Well, here are three tips that may help you remember your password.

  • Create a strong "core" password that doesn't change and change the perimeter every 180 days. Let's say you have two children named John and Mary, aged 4 and 7 respectively and live in Santa Monica. Your core password could read "j4~m7@SM." Then every 180 days you could add two meaningful letters, digits or characters to the front and end of the core password to create something like "APj4~m7@SM11." Now you only need to remember the four new letters, digits or characters.
  • Create a sentence that translates into something you can easily remember like a book title or passage or a meaningfully phrase. "I love Paris in the springtime" becomes "!LVprsIN3~5" or "my vacation to Austria last June was fabulous" becomes "miVac2AusL6ws!."
  • If you must write the password down, type it in a Microsoft Word document and then encrypt the document. Click on the Microsoft icon in the upper left corner > Prepare > Encrypt Document > type a password. This is a good method for retaining all those user ids and passwords you routinely use for Internet activities. You will need to remember the encryption password, but this can be something you can easily recall.

13. How often do AD passwords expire?

Faculty, staff and Third-party Service Provider's passwords expire every 180 days and a new password must be created that does not repeat the 10 previous passwords. Student passwords do not expire.

14. Does the new AD account affect students' use of Blackboard (WebCT)?

The move to AD did not impact faculty and students using WebCT. However, students using WebCT must continue using their current PINE user id and password for WebCT access until the end of spring 2011 quarter. Beginning summer quarter, students will use their new AD user id and password for WebCT.

15. What is myCSULA Identity?

It is a new online self-service offering with many features designed to improve service and accessibility to information. Some initial features include:

  • Automatic creation of new network/e-mail accounts directly from the CMS HCM system (Human Resources/Student Administration (GET)), thereby eliminating Network/E-mail Account Request forms and processing delays.
  • New accounts and passwords issued online, eliminating a trip to the ITS Help Desk.
  • The ability to reset forgotten or compromised passwords online anywhere, anytime, from any computer with Internet access using personalized security questions.
  • Reduced sign-on to other CMS and campus systems through the new MyCalStateLA Portal.
  • Access to the InCommon Federation, an online community of higher education, government, non-profit laboratories, research centers, agencies and sponsored programs that share their protected online resources.
  • New myCSULA Community that enables faculty, administrators and campus group leaders to create their own communities of interest to share ideas and information.

Additional future features include:

  • A self-service upgrade to CMS HCM that will allow employees the ability to change their home address and update emergency contact information online.
  • The ability for faculty and staff to update Campus Information and Telephone Directory listings online as changes occur.

16. Who is eligible for a myCSULA Identity account?

All faculty, emeriti, staff, or students with a valid University CIN number will have a myCSULA Identity account.

17. Is AD and myCSULA Identity available to other campus-affiliated group and organizations, such as Auxiliary Services, LACHSA faculty and Professional and Global Education?

Yes. All Auxiliary Services, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), College of Professional and Global Education, Community Borrowers and other campus-affiliated groups can receive new AD and myCSULA Identity accounts. However, since these groups are not in the CMS HCM system and do not have CIN numbers, individuals in this group will still need to complete the Network/E-mail Account Request form. The AD and myCSULA Identity accounts for these groups must be manually created.

18. Can Third-party Service Providers or vendors and guests obtain a myCSULA Identity account?

Yes. These individuals, however, will have limited access to the features and services provided by myCSULA Identity. They must first obtain an AD network account by submitting a Third Party Network Access Request form for review and approval. The form is available at

19. Do I have to activate the new myCSULA Identity account if I already have my AD account?

Yes, even if you already have your AD account you will need to activate your new myCSULA Identity account.

20. How do I activate my new myCSULA Identity account?

Activating your new myCSULA Identity account is easy and convenient. Activation can be done anywhere, anytime from any computer with Internet access. You can activate your account online by clicking on and following the simple step-by-step instructions.

21. Does the myCSULA Identity account require a different user id than my AD account?

No. Your AD user idis your myCSULA Identity user id.

22. What will happen if I don't activate the myCSULA Identity account right away?

You will still be able to use your AD account for a period of time. But you will not have access to any myCSULA Identity self-service features such as online password reset and you will not be able to access accounts and features through MyCalStateLA Portal. ITS will issue a campus notification when the deadline for myCSULA Identity activation nears.

23. I'm confused. Now I have an AD account and a myCSULA Identity account. Why do I have both?

Think about this as a layering process. First AD accounts were created to move students, faculty and staff into a single domain where everyone had a unique user id. Remember, AD is the foundation for myCSULA Identity. Now myCSULA Identity is placed atop AD. Your myCSULA Identity user id is the same as your AD user id. When you establish your new myCSULA Identity password, your GET/GETLA password is automatically reset too. Your new myCSULA Identity password is now the only password you need to access e-mail, GET or GETLA, WebCT, Moodle and myCSULA Community through the MyCalStateLA Portal.

24. Do I need to reapply for a new myCSULA Identity account every quarter?

No. Once you activate your account, it will remain active as long as you have a valid student or employment relationship with the University.

25. One feature of myCSULA Identity is resetting passwords online. How do I do that?

When you initially activate your myCSULA Identity account, you will go through a series of steps to answer five out of eight security questions with responses only you should know. When you log on to reset your password online, three of your security questions will randomly appear. Once you answer the security questions, you will be authenticated to change your password. It's important that you do not share your security questions and answers with anyone.

To change your password, log on to

26. What should I do if I can't remember the answers to my security questions?

You should visit the ITS Help Desk, LIB PW Lobby, for assistance in resetting your account. You will need picture identification, and students will also need a current class schedule.

27. Since my student password doesn't expire every 180 days, why would I ever need to reset my password online?

The most important reason for changing your password online is because it was shared or obtained unlawfully by another individual. If you display or hide your password in your work area or stick a post-it on your laptop, chances are someone has knowledge of your password. That means they can sign onto the portal as you and access your information, including peeking at your grades. Or they can illegally download music or videos in your name and you could become criminally liable for fines or other punitive damages.

Any time you suspect someone else knows or is using your password, you should immediately reset it online. If you really wish to be proactive, you can always reset your password every 180 days just to remain secure.

28. I understand some users have two myCSULA Identity accounts. Can you explain why?

There are some users who wear more than one hat on campus, such as staff and a student or a faculty and a student. When a user logs into his or her myCSULA Identity account, the user can access and view information that is specifically relative to that user's attributes or "identity." Let's look at the concurrent staff/student. They need to use a staff identity to view campus e-mail and access GETLA. But they also need to use a student identity to view grades in GET, read college notices and participate in WebCT. To maintain these separate identities, these users have two myCSULA Identity accounts.

29. How does myCSULA Identity know what my identity attributes are?

The underlying AD domain that houses your unique user id communicates with CMS HCM (GET). AD receives notices for new students and employees so it can create new AD accounts. It also accesses data in GET that further identifies a user's attributes, such as a student's major or current class enrollment or an employee's department or job classification.

30. We already have a campus portal for students. So what's new about MyCalStateLA Portal?

Well, for one thing, the new portal isn't just for students - it opens access to systems and information for faculty and staff too. It's customized based upon ones' student, faculty or staff myCSULA Identity user id.

Some new portal features include:

  • Improved integration with existing campus applications and enhanced, easier, more intuitive portal navigation.
  • Use of just a single portal sign-on for students, faculty and staff to access GET/GETLA, WebCT, Moodle and Outlook. Web Access (e-mail), again based on the individual's user id.
  • New myCSULA Community feature for shared information and discussions.

31. Will I need a separate user id and password for MyCalStateLA Portal?

No. Once you activate your myCSULA Identity account, you will use that user id and password to access the new portal.

32. Are faculty and staff required to use MyCalStateLA Portal?

It is not required, but it is strongly encouraged for faculty and staff, particularly those who routinely access both e-mail and GETLA. Through the portal, these systems (and many more) are available using just a single sign-on - your myCSULA Identity user id and password. You no longer need to access each system independently and have separate user ids and passwords for each. If you also use WebCT or Moodle, the same sign-on will also access those applications. In addition, notices, bulletins and alerts for all employees are posted to the portal. The convenience of this single sign-on for multiple system access will greatly increase efficiency and productivity and eliminate the need for multiple user ids and passwords.

33. What is the myCSULA Community?

Accessible through the myCSULA Portal, myCSULA Community enables faculty, administrators and campus group leaders to create their own "communities of interest." Communities can be either moderated (for selected individuals only) or un-moderated (everyone can join). Members of communities can receive targeted alerts and announcements and participate in discussion groups. Examples of communities might include the faculty and students in a particular course, class or lab (moderated), or anyone interested in campus performances or athletic events (un-moderated).

34. How do I obtain or create a community?

The primary community must be created by ITS. Communities are initially being offered to college deans and division vice presidents and will be created for those interested in the participating. These individuals then become the "owners" for their respective areas and can create or designate other communities within their division. Once a community is created, the community owner or designee can write, maintain and delete content.

Faculty, administrators and campus group leaders interested in creating a community should submit form ITS-4824 myCSULA Community Request, available at, to their dean or vice president. The community owners are responsible for the appropriateness and timeliness of content and for removing topical communities when they are no longer needed.

35. Are there any standards for myCSULA Community content?

Yes. When logging into community/blog the first time, users will be required to read and acknowledge the Acceptable Use Agreement for Cal State L.A. Community/Blog Sites. This agreement outlines the standards and conditions for using the site.

36. If I have any questions or problems with these new services, who should I contact?

The ITS Help Desk can assist you with questions and problems on these or any other services. They are located in the LIB PW Lobby, or call 323-343-6170.

36. Why can't I access my network file directories after I activated my account?

Since you reset your password, it make take some time for the new password to be propagated throughout the network of servers. It is best to reboot your computer after you have successfully activated your myCSULA Identity account.