MFA: What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?



Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method of verifying who you are that requires the use of more than just a username (or email address) and password. Using MFA for Office 365, you are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or app notification on your smartphones after correctly entering their passwords. You can sign in only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied.

MFA works by requiring both of the following authentication methods:

  • Something you know (typically a password)
  • Something you have (a trusted device that is not easily duplicated, like a phone)

MFA is only required for off-campus access to University resources. MFA is not required when accessing resources while you are on-campus.

You can get started with MFA by visiting or submitting a request to the IT Service Center by emailing

Being Prompted for MFA

The default time between MFA prompts is 90 days. However, there are various conditions that will require an MFA prompt in less than 90 days. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

MFA Prompt #1: Every 90 Days

By default you will be prompted for MFA every 90 days on each device. 

MFA Prompt #2: A risky sign-in

The University has automated systems that can detect a risky sign-in. When your sign-in is considered "risky" then you will be prompted for MFA. This occurs for a few reasons:

  1. Using services designed to anonymize your location such as VPNs and other proxy services.
  2. Signing in from a new web browser in a new location.
  3. After deleting browser data such as cookies.

Cookies are an important part of web browsing that store session data and identify your computer to the service that you are accessing. If you delete your cookies or sign in from a new location, then the University's SSO System (Single Sign-On) is unable to determine your identity without an MFA prompt.

MFA Prompt #3: Using Microsoft Edge on computers in the Maxwell Library

Although you may be prompted for MFA when using a lab machine in the Maxwell Library, you do not need to "pass" the challenge to access resources. There are two known workarounds:

  1. Use the Google Chrome web browser.
  2. Approve the MFA prompt.

MFA Prompt #4: Requiring a password change after reaching a high risk threshold

The University's systems are designed to automatically require a password change if there is a high level of confidence that the user account is compromised. This is configured to prevent threat actors from accessing your BSU user account and causing mayhem.

What to do if MFA is preventing me from learning or working?

Call the IT Service Center at 508-531-2555. The IT Division is 100% here to help you and get you back online.



Article ID: 96831
Wed 1/29/20 11:43 AM
Thu 11/2/23 12:12 PM