Good practice for using multi-factor authentication (MFA) 

[Links updated September 2022]

It’s a new year and a good time to push ourselves into good habits both at home, and for work. How we use our multi-factor authentication (MFA) is no exception to this – good practice can save us time and reduce stress. So, how can we use MFA better? And why would we want to?   

Why set up a second way to access MFA? 

Many of us have our multi-factor authentication set up on our mobile phones only. This is a handy and easy way to access all that we need, but what if we lose our phone, or simply get a new one?  

In the excitement to set up and figure out new features on phones received or purchased over the Christmas break, not everyone remembered to set up MFA on their new device. Lots and lots of people arrived back at Oxford without access to MFA!

If everyone had set up a second method of accessing their MFA on a separate device, this wouldn’t have been a problem. As it was, both students and staff found themselves calling the Service Desk to get help. 

Recommended second way to access your MFA 

We recommend using the Authy app (on your computer) for your second method of multi-factor authentication. It’s really easy to use and doesn’t rely on you having your phone to hand which makes it particularly useful if you leave your phone at home or lose it. 

Of course, other authentication methods are available and you should choose the one that suits you best for your second MFA method, as long as you can access it without your phone. 

Further information 

For help with MFA, ask your local IT support in the first instance - they can reset your account if needed. If you still have problems after that, check the MFA Help and guidance pages which are packed with great, easy-to-follow advice, or contact the central IT Service Desk