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The University of Southampton

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

All members of the University are expected to have multi-factor authentication (MFA) set up on their IT account. This helps us protect you and the university community from potential cyber security attacks.

MFA will prompt you to confirm your identify when you sign in. This adds an additional layer of security to your account. You may already be familiar with MFA if you use online banking.

MFA can be set up using your mobile phone, via an app, receiving an SMS text message or a phone call.

You will be able to choose one of these options as your primary (preferred) method of authentication.

Once you have done this, we strongly recommend you set up a secondary method. This means that if one method fails, you have a backup to avoid being locked out of your account. For example, our most common support call topic is when people have a new phone and are experiencing issues with their authenticator app. Further information on what you should do when changing your phone can be found here (Section 6) .

You can find instructions on how to set up and manage MFA below.

How do I set up MFA?

You can register for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) at and select 'Sign in to Manage My Account'.

Under the Password and Security section, click on Manage your Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA) - In here you will find further information and a video for how to set it up.

It will take approx 10 minutes to setup MFA.

Further information about how to set up MFA on your account can be found here.

How do I manage MFA on my account?

Information on how to manage MFA on your account is available in this Knowledge Base article.

When will I be asked to use multi-factor authentication?

University services such as Office 365, Outlook, Teams and Global Protect (VPN) will prompt you to authenticate when you sign in offsite and/or you are not connected to the university network.

Your browser can remember this information for 30 days if you mark the device as trusted.

You will be asked to authenticate again if:

  • You switch to using a different browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari etc)
  • You use a different computer (e.g. in a meeting room)
  • You've turned on private browsing which clears the information each time you close the browser window.

What do I need to set up MFA?

You will need a mobile phone (recommended) or a landline phone. If you do not have either of these, please contact ServiceLine.

How do I get help setting up and using MFA?

If you have followed the guides and are still unable to set up MFA on your university account, or something has gone wrong, please contact ServiceLine. The set up guide can be found in the Knowledge Base article "How to set up and manage Microsoft Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)" .

If you need to speak to us urgently call ServiceLine. The phone lines are open from 08:30 - 18:00 Monday - Friday when the University is open.

  • Internal calls: Ext. 25656 (or 73-25656 from the Southampton General Hospital site)
  • External calls: +44 (0)23 8059 5656

Further information about ServiceLine can be found here: ServiceLine - The IT Service Desk

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