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Layer up your account security with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) gives you increased protection against cyber-attacks

MFA basics

MFA gives you an additional layer of security, over and above your username and password when working online

A image illustrating the layers of authentication

Having more than one sign-in method enables you to verify your identity should you forget your password. Also, if your password is compromised by a malicious third party, they won't be able to access protected resources without providing secondary authentication, via:

  • the Microsoft Authenticator App
  • an alternative phone
  • a text message (SMS)

MFA at the University of Bath

Find out why the University has applied MFA, the benefits, and how to get set up

Why the University has applied MFA

  • MFA has been implemented to provide an extra layer of protection for your University Microsoft 365 account, the University of Bath VPN, and systems such as iTrent and Business World (Agresso).
  • The University stores a large amount of personal data, of both staff and students, including confidential research data, which MFA helps to protect
  • Since many of our community are now working remotely and most of our work is done online, there is a greater threat of attack on individuals' email and online data. This could lead to data breaches and unwanted access or threats to our security

Benefits of MFA

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Helps you to gain access to your account should you forget your password
  • Provides increased protection against cyber-attacks
  • Keeps any sensitive research data in a more protected environment
  • Implementation of MFA means that you will receive a request for authentication if an attempt is made to access your account from an unusual location or device

What you need to do

To set up MFA or add additional sign-in methods:

  1. Log in to My Account 
  2. Select UPDATE INFO within the Security Info section  
  3. Select Add Method  
  4. Choose your preferred verification methods from the drop-down list , either:
  • the Microsoft Authenticator App (recommended). You will need to set up the app for your Bath account: Open the app, select the + button, tap Add work or school account and sign in with your Bath credentials.
  • phone - call
  • phone - text message (will not work for VPN access)

Please note: To use the University’s VPN you must also set your MFA default sign-in method. For guidance on how to do this, see our Setting up VPN on your device page.

Choosing suitable sign in methods

You can add as many sign-in methods as you like. Some methods are more suitable for particular activities. Find out which methods you should use.

We recommend you use the Microsoft Authenticator App as it is suitable for all scenarios, and that you have at least two methods set up. For example, adding both the phone and Authenticator App methods will mean you can still verify your identity and access your account if you later change your phone but retain your number.

Methods available Suitable for M365 authentication and logging into University systems Suitable for VPN authentication Suitable for resetting your password
Microsoft Authenticator App (most secure) Yes Yes Yes
Phone (text / SMS) Yes Yes Yes
Alternative phone Yes Yes Yes
Email - - Yes
Security questions - - Yes
Office phone - - -

Two sign in methods are better

Having at least two sign in methods set up means if your first method fails, you can still verify your identity using your second method.

Layer up your MFA sign in methods

Personal data and privacy considerations

How your personal data is held, used and kept secure

The personal details you share are used solely for the purpose of identity verification and authentication.

Back up and recover your account credentials

Find out how to use the Microsoft Authenticator app to back up and recover your account credentials

The Microsoft Authenticator app backs up your account credentials and related app settings, such as the order of your accounts, to the cloud. You can then use the app to recover your information on a new device, potentially avoiding getting locked out or having to recreate accounts.

Troubleshooting common problems

Find solutions to the most common problems with MFA

If you are experiencing problems with MFA, such as:

  • Verification problems
  • Error messages
  • Problems with the Microsoft Authenticator App

Or if you have privacy concerns.

Help and guidance

Where to find more information and assistance