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Signing in to Office 365 for the first time and setting up multi-factor authentication (MFA)

When you first access Office 365, you sign in using your University of Otago email address and need to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA). If your access is from:

  • On-campus, you set it up manually
  • Off-campus, you will be prompted to do it when you log in

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security mechanism that requires you to provide two or more known pieces of information in order to authenticate your identity. For example, logging in to your bank account via a web browser may require you to enter a code sent to your mobile phone or use the bank’s mobile app to confirm your access. Using Office 365 at home requires you to approve the access using the “Microsoft Authenticator” app on your mobile phone or to enter a code sent to it.

After setting up MFA, keep your mobile phone handy whenever you sign in to Office 365 so you can confirm your identity. 

Please note that once MFA is set up on your mobile phone, your ongoing access to Office 365 will be linked to it. If you lose or need to replace your phone, please contact AskOtago for assistance:

Tel +64 3 479 7000 or 0800 80 80 98
Email askotago.it@otago.ac.nz

Before you begin

During the MFA setup process Microsoft will ask “How should we contact you” [to perform MFA checks as you log in]. The options are:

  • Mobile App: At Otago this refers to the “Microsoft Authenticator” app that you install on your mobile phone, and means that when you log in to Office 365, Microsoft will either request a one-time code from the app or send the app a “please approve this login” message that you respond to.
  • Authentication Phone: this also refers to your mobile phone, but in this case when you log in, Microsoft sends an SMS (TXT) code to your phone that you will enter on the Office 365 login page. Alternately, they will call your phone to confirm your identity.

The University’s Cyber Security Team strongly recommends that you use the “Microsoft Authenticator” app on your mobile phone as your primary additional verification option, as it provides the highest level of security for your account and data.

If you are unable to install the “Microsoft Authenticator” app onto your mobile phone, you can receive a text code as an alternative identity verification method.

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Are you at home or on campus?

Depending on your location, follow the steps in either section A. or B. below, then follow the common steps in section C.

Section A. On campus

If you are logging in for the first time while on campus, you will need to go directly to MFA here: https://aka.ms/mfasetup

This video from Microsoft will guide you through the steps

Section B. At home

You will be prompted to set up multi-factor authentication when you first log in to Office 365.

Open a new web browser session with no other tabs running. There is no need to use the University’s VPN Service to access Office 365 online when you are off campus.

  1. Go to the Office 365 sign in page and click Sign in.

    Front page of Office 365

  2. Enter your University email address, then press the Next button.

    Sign in to Office 365 with your staff email address

  3. If you are presented with a choice of accounts to sign in to (as shown below), select Work or School account.

    Choose which account to use with Office 365
  4.  When Microsoft detects your Otago email address, it will redirect you to the University’s secure web-based login service. Select the Staff Login radio button and enter your University username and password. You may see either of the two following login screens:

    University login screen
    Sign in page for ADFS at the University

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Section C. Common steps to complete

  1. In the More Information required window, press Next.

    More information required page in Office 365

  2. In Step 1: How should we contact you?, use the drop-down option to change it to Mobile App.

    How should we contact you page in Office 365

  3. Select the Use verification code radio button and click Set up.

    Additional security verification page in Office 365

  4. This will bring up the Configure mobile app window displaying a QR code. Leave this window open, and go to your mobile phone.

    Configure mobile app page in Office 365 

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Installing and configuring the Microsoft Authenticator App on iPhone

  1. Open your App Store, search for Microsoft Authenticator, download it, and open it.

    Microsoft Authenticator in the App store

  2. When prompted, choose to Allow notifications and tap OK on the screen that mentions data gathering.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator - notifications allowed Setting up Microsoft Authenticator - allow data gathering

  3. Tap the Skip link at the bottom until you get to the screen asking if you are Here for work? On that screen, tap Add work account.

    Setting up Microsoft Authenticator - here for work? screen


  4. Hold your phone camera over the QR code displayed on your computer.

    Scanning QR code on your phone

  5. The mobile app setup is now complete, so click the Next button on your computer.

    Additional security verification in Office 365 - moving on with setup

  6. Add your mobile phone number as a back-up, and click Finished.

    Adding your mobile phone number in Office 365

  7. You will be prompted to sign into Office 365 again. (Note the link allowing you to sign in another way. This can be used if you have any difficulty with the authenticator.)

    Approve sign-in request in Office 365

  8. Signing in will send a notification to your phone. Approve this on your phone.

    Approving your sign-in on Microsoft Authenticator

  9. You can also tick the box on the prompt to stay signed in while your computer is on.

    Staying signed in in Office 365
  10. You will see a page showing that you have set up all the security features. You can close this tab and return to Office 365.

    Confirmation of security features page in Office 365

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How to update your preferred MFA verification option at any time

If you have previously set up MFA, and now want to change your preferred verification method (e.g. to use the Microsoft Authenticator app) go to the MFA setup page: https://aka.ms/mfasetup

This Microsoft video shows you how to set your preferred verification method to use the Microsoft Authenticator app.

How to reset your MFA configuration to start again

If you have problems with your installed MFA and need to start again, please contact AskOtago for assistance:

Tel +64 3 479 7000 or 0800 80 80 98
Email askotago.it@otago.ac.nz

Last updated 03/09/2020 03.01 PM

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