However You Slice IT: Throw a Pie at UNLV’s Chief Information Security Officer for a Good Cause

  OIT News  |     |  By Nicole Johnson
Child throws pie at person’s face as crowd watches on.

Vito Rocco is urging UNLV students, faculty, and staff to switch their multifactor authentication method to Okta Verify, one pie at a time.

The chief information security officer from UNLV Information Technology (IT) is participating in Pie on Pida at 11:10 a.m. on March 21 on Pida Plaza as part of Rebels Give, a day where UNLV supporters give to any area of interest on campus. Those who donate to UNLV IT can throw a pie at Rocco as he spreads awareness about why Okta Verify is more secure and reliable than SMS text messaging for multifactor authentication (MFA).

Person standing with hands in pockets with building in background

Offering a better user experience, Okta Verify is a MFA app that lets users verify their identity by approving a push notification sent to their device or a one-time code generated in the app to make it harder for unauthorized users to intercept. Okta Verify also works with or without an internet connection, ensuring users are never locked out and can access their accounts anywhere in the world.

A majority of the campus population uses SMS text messaging for their MFA experience, according to Rocco. Pie on Pida is one approach UNLV IT is using to connect with students, faculty, and staff and inform them about the upcoming change.

“Pie on Pida is a playful way to let everyone know that we’re moving away from SMS for authentication by the middle of the fall semester,” Rocco said. “It’s a chance to switch to Okta Verify early and contribute to the university’s growth towards a more cybersecure campus, while supporting such a great student service as the technology loan program.”

The technology loan program ensures students who don’t have access to technology are able to borrow laptops for the entire semester at no cost, Rocco noted. Hundreds of students have participated in the program since it started in 2020. Donations from Pie on Pida will help UNLV IT replace old devices with new laptops for the technology loan program.

With UNLV services using MFA as the standard for ACE logins, UNLV IT is making it easy for the campus community to transition to Okta Verify. All they need to do is follow a few quick steps to enroll now before they have to in the coming months.

Rocco said that moving users to more secure MFA methods is a win-win situation for UNLV and its campus community.

“UNLV gets better security on university data and assets, and the user gets an MFA method that is less onerous and easier to use,” said Rocco. “MFA also meets compliance requirements that drive things like federal and grant funding, financial aid, insurance coverage, and patient confidentiality.” 

If Okta Verify isn’t the best option for them, students, faculty, and staff can use a USB security key available at the IT Help Desk. Security keys are inserted or tapped on devices when prompted for MFA

Kivanc Oner, vice president for digital transformation and chief information officer, is also participating in Pie on Pida. To also thank him for MFA, pies can be thrown at Oner at 11:10 a.m. for donations towards the technology loan program.

Person wearing a suit sitting down and smiling

Gift-giving isn’t limited to the pie event. Supporters can make a gift online to the technology loan program at For more information about the UNLV IT campaign, visit the Rebels Give Power Through Technology site.