Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is here. Are you ready?

Information Technology Services (ITS) is pleased and excited to now offer multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your college login to Microsoft 365.  You may have already used multi-factor authentication, sometimes referred to as two-factor or two-step authentication, when accessing other online services such as banks, social media, and shopping sites. By offering MFA for your college account, an extra layer of security is added to your account sign-in for accessing Microsoft 365, including Outlook email, One Drive and all Microsoft products offered under the college licensing. 

Offering MFA to the college community is the next important step in the cyber security initiatives implemented at SUNY Empire.

The enrollment and use of MFA will be required for all staff and students on June 15, 2022.

Read on to learn more about MFA at SUNY Empire or ENROLL NOW in MFA.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

MFA uses the guiding principle that to best identify you, there are three factors that are required:

  1. Something you know - a username and password.
  2. Something you have - a cell phone/mobile device to receive a confirmation code or approval request.
  3. Something you are - a biometric identifier such as a thumb print or face recognition on your mobile device.

These options used in combination provide maximum security benefits. At SUNY Empire, the first two method options to log into college websites will be required. Once you enroll in MFA:

  • When you enter a password and click "approve" using an authenticator app installed on your mobile device, this is multi-factor authentication.
  • When you enter a password and enter a verification code that has been sent to you by a text message, this is multi-factor authentication.

Why Multi-Factor Authentication?

Usernames and passwords are often too easy to discover by those with malicious intent. According to Microsoft, “With over 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts targeting Microsoft cloud services every day, … enabling a multi-factor authentication solution blocks 99.9% of these unauthorized login attempts, even if hackers have a copy of a user's current password.” (Maynes, M. (2019, August 20). (One simple action you can take to prevent 99.9 percent of attacks on your accounts. -Microsoft)

Some security benefits and features of MFA at SUNY Empire include:

  • No expiring passwords. MFA adds an additional layer of protection so frequent password changes are no longer necessary.
  • Protection of college email and OneDrive files, even if a password is compromised.
  • Mitigation of phishing attacks by preventing access to email.
  • Protected access to the new Brightspace Digital Learning Environment, coming in the Fall 2022.
  • Protection worldwide from wherever you travel, via multiple device types.

When will Multi-factor be required?

On June 15, 2022, enrollment in Multi-factor authentication will be required for all students and staff. Until then, we encourage the college community to enroll and setup your authentication methods now! This will allow you to implement and familiarize yourself with MFA, at your own pace. The IT Service Desk is available to guide through the process and answer any questions you may have.

What actions should I take?

  1. Read the Knowledgebase article, Request and Setup Multi-Factor Authentication.
  2. View our instructional video series on Learnscape

Have more questions?

See our FAQ page for answers to more of your questions about Multi-factor authentication.