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Office 365 uses multi-factor authentication to help provide extra security for our online accounts. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method of authentication that requires the use of more than one verification method and adds a second layer of security to user sign-ins and transactions. The security of MFA lies in its layered approach. Compromising multiple authentication factors presents a significant challenge for attackers. Even if an attacker manages to learn a user's password, it is useless without also having possession of the additional authentication method. It works by requiring any of the following verification methods after you enter your password:

  • A randomly generated pass code from a token device

  • A phone call with a randomly generated pass code

  • A smartphone authenticator app with push-notification approval or a randomly generated pass code

Step-by-step guide

You can set up your multi-factor authentication options at any time by going to This is also where you will go to make changes to your MFA options after the initial setup.

  1. Upon logging in to your Office 365 account, you will be prompted to set up your MFA options. Click Next when prompted.


  2. You will be taken to the Additional security verification setup page. Start with Step 1.

  3. Under Step 1: How should we contact you?, select the drop-down menu to see all of the verification options. This is how you will be contacted to verify your login to Office 365.

    1. The option Authentication phone is for any phone number where you can be reached regularly and reliably. A cell phone number is recommended. This option can call you or send you a text message with an authentication code.
    2. The Office phone option is intended for your office phone number; however, you will not be able to log in to your account if you are away from your office and unable to receive the call with your authentication code. Please note, at this time, the Office phone option does not work for users who have a Missouri State University office phone number.
    3. The final option is for a Mobile app. We strongly recommend the use of the Microsoft Authenticator app for smart devices as your verification option. It is available for both iOS and Android devices, and you can also go to the Microsoft Authenticator website to download the app. This option allows you to input auto-generated authentication codes or simply approve log-in requests via a push notification to your smart device. For more information, see How to Set Up the Microsoft Authenticator App.

  4. After selecting your verification option in Step 1, click Next to proceed to Step 2 to complete the setup. This will vary depending on the option you selected in Step 1. 
  5. Once your MFA options are verified, you will be taken back to the Office 365 login screen. Use your authenticator app or the 6-digit code you were given during your verification to sign in. 
  6. You will be prompted to re-authenticate periodically to keep your account secure. If you selected a phone option for verification you will be sent a new code each time. The authenticator app continually generates codes you can use, and you can also approve log-in requests from the app without using a code. 

The Microsoft Authenticator app is the recommended verification option. See step 3c above for more information.


How it works: Azure Multi-Factor Authentication

Plan for multi-factor authentication for Office 365 deployments

Set up 2-step verification for Office 365

Use Microsoft Authenticator with Office 365

For questions or comments, contact the Computer Services Help Desk