Setting up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for your SMU Office 365 Email Account

You may have received an email notification from a member of the Samuel Merritt University IT Department notifying you that MFA will be enabled for your account on a specified date.  Prior to setting up MFA, we highly recommend that you install the Microsoft Authenticator app on your android or iPhone before you register.

1. Install the Microsoft Authenticator App

The Microsoft Authenticator mobile app is available in the App Store or on Google Play by searching for ‘Microsoft Authenticator’. The following link may also be used to locate the software:


2. Set up your account

Once migrated to O365 Email, SMU faculty, staff, and student users will be required to undergo a two-step verification process. Users will see a screen similar to the following:

“Your admin has required that you set up this account for additional security verification.

This prompt will appear the first time you log in to webmail after your administrator has enabled MFA on your account.  Log in to webmail on the SMU website using the cloud mail link in quick links on the website as shown to begin the process:

Screenshot of Cloudmail link on SMU website

The same link is provided here:

  1. To get started, select Set it up now.
    Screenshot of O365 Email Setup
    If you do not see a screen like this when you sign in, follow the directions in Manage your settings for two-step verification to find the settings page where you can manage your verification options.
  2. Choose Mobile app in step one and Receive notifications for verification as shown and click Set up:
    Screenshot of Microsoft Security Verification setup
  3. The following step presents the QR code as well as a link and url to be used as backup in case you are unable to scan the code. Your android or iPhone will be invoked as a QR reader when you start the Authenticator App on your phone.  Before launching the app on your phone, be aware of the following:
    • Your device may prompt you that the Authenticator app is requesting access to your camera
    • Your device may prompt you that the Authenticator app is requesting to accept notifications
    • Choose ACCEPT to Both Prompts.

    Open the Authenticator app on your phone when the QR code appears on your computer screen
    Example QR code for configuring MS Authenticator App

  4. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app. On the accounts screen, select + or the vertical dots and choose add account, and then specify that you want to add a work or school account.
    Screenshot of using the Authenticator app, part 1  Screenshot of using the Authenticator app, part 2
  1. Use the camera to scan the QR code, and then select Done to close the QR code screen.
    Screenshot of QR code from Authenticator app
    If your camera is not working properly, you can enter the QR code and URL manually.
  2. When the app shows your account name with a six-digit code underneath it, you're done.
  3. Validate MFA for your account.  You will need to approve the login using the authenticator app on your mobile device.  When you see the following, respond to the prompt on your phone:
    Microsoft O365 Security Verification
    Approve the sign-in
    MS Authenticator App sign-in approval prompt
  4.  Add your cell phone number as security verification outside the app and click next
    MS Authenticator app adding phone number as backup
  5. App Passwords – These are sometimes used with legacy applications that do not directly support MFA.  These can be generated later and are rarely needed.  Click done at this prompt.
    MS Authenticator app legacy application passwords
    Future sign-ins to webmail will require you to approve the sign-in via the mobile app after entering your user name and password.

3. Add an additional security verification phone

In case your mobile device is unavailable it is a good idea to add another phone number you can use for MFA.  This can be a landline or office phone and does not need to support mobile apps or even text messaging.  As an alternative or backup, you can answer a voice call and press # to authenticate with MFA.

Log on to the following site to edit your MFA settings:

Select your account -> Profile -> Additional security verification

Microsoft MyApps Site - Additional Security Verification

Here, an Alternate authentication phone has been configured for the account.  In this example, it is an office phone.  The alternate authentication phone may be chosen as authentication method at the MFA prompt in the event that the mobile device is not available or data reception is poor.  The user will simply need to answer the incoming call and press # when prompted.

Microsoft MFA Alternate Phone configuration

If users experience issues, please contact the Service Desk.


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