What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)


Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) helps strengthen online accounts by enabling a second piece of information to login – like a one-time code.  It can be applied to your home accounts, such as iTunes, Netflix, Google and work accounts, such as Microsoft 365. 

MFA has links to Acadia's network Single Sign On. If you are logged into your Microsoft Account, you will not be asked to re-authenticate in other applications.  

The purpose of this article is to provide some insight into Multi-Factor Authentication, how it can be used to provide added security for your account and your data, as well as a list of user guides on how you can enroll your Acadia University account for MFA. In this article you will find:

  1. What is MFA?
  2. Why MFA is important?
  3. MFA at Acadia?
  4. What can I expect when logging into services with MFA?
  5. MFA Guides
  6. Further Reading

What is MFA

MFA is an extra layer of security that requires you to use two or more different verification methods to log in to a device or account. You likely already use MFA for other personal accounts without realizing it like:

  • Using your bank card + a PIN to withdraw money from a bank machine
  • Entering a password + a code sent to your phone to access an online account

Typically, MFA is a combination of two factors: 

  1. Something you mentally know (i.e. Username & Password), and
  2. Something you physically have (i.e. a cell phone or landline). 

Essentially when you sign-in to an MFA enabled application, such as Office 365, you will be prompted via a mobile app push notification, phone call, or text message to confirm your identity. You confirm your identity by approving the sign-on or entering the provided passcode. The MFA challenge will not happen again until your authenticated session ends.


Why MFA is important?

MFA helps protect your account by keeping it secure even if your password becomes compromised. This is particularly important in today’s online environment where cybercriminals are constantly trying to steal login and personal information through phishing emails, malicious links, fake online forms, and more.

Passwords alone are easy to hack.  There are many techniques used by bad actors to harvest or guess your password.  Statistically MFA reduces the likelihood that your account will be compromised by 99.9%

MFA at Acadia University?

Once enrolled, MFA will be required to access all Acadia Microsoft 365 services as well as other select services. This includes:

  • Email
  • Teams
  • OneDrive
  • SharePoint
  • Desktop apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Office Web apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc
  • Other M365 applications (accessed via the Microsoft 365 link in office365.acadiau.ca)

Optional MFA: 

  • Vaughan Memorial Library Alma Library system. You will be prompted to set up MFA but it may be skipped. 

As more services are required to have MFA, this list will be updated. 

What can I expect when logging in to services with MFA?

At a glance:

  1. On your computer, when prompted, enter your Acadia email and password
  2. Use your phone to verify your identity
  3. You're securely logged in!

Full details:

Here's what to expect when logging in to an MFA-enabled service:.

  1. On the Acadia login screen, enter your Acadia user name and Password (if not already pre-filled) and then select Sign in.
  2. An approval request or one-time code will be sent to your MFA method (i.e. the Microsoft Authenticator app on your phone/tablet or a text (SMS) message to your phone).
  3. You will "Approve" the notification/enter the code provided to finish signing in process.
  4. Microsoft will verify your information.
  5. You're securely logged in!

MFA Guides

These provide you links to MFA Guides


Further Reading

What is Single Sign On


Article ID: 989
Tue 10/27/20 10:15 AM
Tue 9/20/22 2:54 PM

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