Office of Information Technology

AU's SafeConnect Computer Health Check System



Why require system "health checks"?

It has been determined, time and time again, that most virus infections can be avoided if the computer maintains current antivirus and antispyware software; and the operating system and common applications are patched as quickly as possible.

AU has implemented the SafeConnect "computer health check" system to help the community keep their computers up-to-date to ensure that they are not causing harm to their computer or those of others. Any Windows-based computer that connects to AU's wired network automatically undergoes the health check, which verifies that the computer is in a state that reduces the likelihood of disruption to the network or exposure of sensitive information, before being allowed to access network resources.

 

How does the "Health Check" work?

The SafeConnect Policy Key performs a "health check" to verify that the computer meets minimum-security standards prior to accessing the university wired network. The Policy Key is pre-installed on new, university-owned, Windows-based computers. Other computers connecting to the university wired network receive the Policy Key following authentication through a SafeConnect web page.

 

Will computers running the Macintosh OS X or Linux operating systems have to complete the health check?

Not at this time. Reports of viruses infecting Macintosh or Linux computers are relatively rare. Users of these operating systems should keep up with operating system updates and utilize virus protection, but the risks are not as high as they are with the Windows operating system. Macintosh and Linux users will be required to login to the SafeConnect system through a web interface, and will be prompted to install the SafeConnect Policy Key. Virus authors will likely target these operating systems more frequently in the future, so we may expand our health check to include these platforms.

 

How can visitors access the network?

Faculty and staff with short-term campus visitors who need to connect to the Internet should create Visitor Accounts for them to sign into the university network or contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp.