Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an additional layer of security that helps to secure your account.

An increasing number of services will require MFA over time, but you only need to set it up once. When using these services, you will receive a notification on your mobile phone prompting you to verify your sign in. This helps to ensure that it is really you who is trying to sign in.

You may have used MFA for services outside the University, such as online banking. This is a similar service but requires you to register separately.

Setting up MFA

You can set up MFA using a valid phone number (either mobile or landline). If you prefer, you can use the Authenticator app instead. Click Set up now and follow the set up wizard for detailed instructions.

You can use a personal mobile phone for MFA if you don’t have a UWE Bristol device. If you supply a phone number, it will only be used for MFA purposes, and will not be visible in the contact directory.

It's a good idea to add at least one alternative verification method in case you are unable to use your preferred option when required. Repeat the process to add additional methods.

Set up now

Responding to MFA notifications

To respond to an MFA notification, follow the instructions displayed on screen at the time. The way you respond will depend on the verification option you chose when registering your device:

  • Mobile app – tap the notification or open the Microsoft Authenticator app on your phone and tap approve or reject.
  • Text message – type the code received by text message into the login screen.
  • Phone call – answer the call and press the hash key to confirm.

If you haven’t tried to log in but receive an MFA notification, you should either reject it or take no action.

If you receive unexpected alerts often, check whether you have any apps running in the background or on other devices. If you can't identify the source, contact the IT Service Desk for advice.

Which services require MFA?

You will receive an MFA notification when accessing services such as Outlook webmail, Office.com and SharePoint Online.

Signing in when your MFA device is not available

If your MFA device is not available (eg it was left at home or has no battery) you will not be able to sign in to a service that requires MFA.

You should set up more than one method of verification, so you have an alternative available to use in this scenario. Follow the instructions above to set up alternative verification methods.

What to do if your MFA device is lost or stolen

If you have previously set up an alternative MFA device, follow the device setup instructions above to set up a replacement MFA device. As part of the setup process, you will be able to remove any lost or stolen devices from your account.

If you have not set up an alternative device, contact the IT Service Desk for advice.

What to do when changing personal phones, work phones and tablets

If you use the Authenticator app, you will need to remove your UWE Bristol account from the app before moving to your new device:

  1. Open the Authenticator app.
  2. In the menu options, select Edit accounts.
  3. Remove your UWE Bristol account.

Now you can download the Authenticator app onto your new device and add your UWE Bristol account.

If you are unable to do this, please contact the IT Service Desk to verify your identity and reset your MFA. You will then need to set up your MFA from scratch.

If you do not use the Authenticator app, no action is required when changing devices. Authentication using your phone number will continue to work across devices.

Further help

If you are having difficulty using MFA, please contact the IT Service Desk.

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