Frequently Asked Questions about Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?
How do I enroll in MFA?
Do I need to use MFA when I am on campus?
Do I need a smartphone to use MFA?
How do I set up an older cell phone or use a smartphone without the Okta app installed?
What do I do if I do not have my mobile phone with me?
Why am I prompted for MFA if I clicked on the 30-day checkbox?
Does the Okta Verify app require a cellular or Wifi connection?
Does the Okta Verify app work when I travel abroad?
Why should I use SMS (text message) if I already have the Okta Verify app on my phone or tablet?
Is it possible to receive a second factor in more ways than one?
What is a YubiKey?
How can I obtain a Yubikey?
What if I lose my MFA factor(s)?
What do I do if my phone or tablet was stolen or damaged?

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

MFA adds a second layer of security to your Union log in process.  In addition to your password, a second factor, such as the Okta app on a smartphone, a text message, phone call, or portable key will be used to verify your identity.

How do I enroll in MFA?

You can enroll in MFA by following the steps detailed here.

Do I need to use MFA when I am on campus?

No, you will not be prompted for MFA when you access Union systems wile on campus.

Do I need a smartphone to use MFA?

A smartphone is the recommended device since the Okta Verify app provides the greatest level of security and flexibility to you.  The app generates passcodes for log in (even without cellular connectivity) and can receive push notifications for easy, one-tap authentication.  You can also use an older cell phone, landline (such as your office or home phone), tablet, or security key.

How do I set up an older cell phone or use a smartphone without the Okta app installed?

Okta will work with any cell phone that can receive text (SMS) messages.

What do I do if I do not have my mobile phone with me?

Okta can call your office line if you have set it up as an alternative number.  We recommend adding your office line and possibly other lines, as appropriate.  For example, you may want to have a spouse's mobile number as an option in case of emergency.

Why am I prompted for MFA if I clicked on the 30-day checkbox?

The "remember me" option is tied to a particular browser on a device.  If you log in using a different browser or device, you will need to check the "remember me" box again.

Does the Okta Verify app require a cellular or Wifi connection?

The Okta Verify app, when configured on a smartphone or a tablet, will continue to provide numeric multi-factor codes without a data connection or while the device is in airplane or offline mode. When prompted by your Okta log on, simply enter the 6-digit code displayed in the app.

Does the Okta Verify app work when I travel abroad?

Yes!  The Okta Verify app will continue to provide numeric multi-factor codes on your smartphone or tablet even with no cell or wi-fi connection. When prompted for an MFA factor during the logon, simply open the Okta Verify app on your phone and enter the provided 6-digit code.

Why should I use SMS (text message) if I already have the Okta Verify app on my phone or tablet?

The Okta Verify app is the easiest way to authenticate using MFA because it supports "push" technology.  Your phone will ask if you are signing on and you only need to acknowledge it; no typing required.  If something is not working right with the app, having your cell phone number as a backup method assures that you can still obtain the code.

Is it possible to receive a second factor in more ways than one?

Yes.  ITS recommends configuring several methods of receiving your MFA code.  A phone call, text message, and smartphone app are all recommended options.  Multiple options are not only convenient, they provide alternative means of retrieving a code should one method not be available.

What is a Yubikey?

A YubiKey is a small device that you insert into your computer USB port.  When you touch or tap the button on the YubiKey, it generates a unique MFA passcode.

How can I obtain a YubiKey?

Contact the ITS Help Desk at (518) 388-6400. 

What if I lose my MFA factor(s)?

ITS recommends configuring more than one factor, such as the Okta Verify app plus a text message (SMS) number, as well as a phone number.  If you lose or do not have access to all of your factors you can contact the ITS Help Desk at (518) 388-6400 and we can assist you to access your account and configure your factors.

What do I do if my phone or tablet was stolen or damaged?

Contact the ITS Help Desk at (518) 388-6400 for assistance removing the device from your account.


If you are having difficulty or you have unanswered questions, please contact the Help Desk through the ITS Service Catalog or call (518) 388-6400.


Details

Article ID: 130136
Created
Fri 3/12/21 2:27 PM
Modified
Thu 5/6/21 1:16 PM