Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Employees, Students and Applicants

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Information and detailed set-up instructions for MFA are provided below.

Configure your Microsoft Authenticator App
How can I change my MFA Settings?
Configure SMS or Calling
Configure Yubico Security Key


Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a mechanism that provides a secondary form of identification when logging in to ensure you are who you claim to be.

MFA combines at least two forms of authentication: a password and a secondary code generated by a cell phone or a code generator. In the event of a password compromise, your account cannot be accessed unless that party has access to your cell phone or code generator.

MFA is common with internet banking and social media platforms and is an effective way to prevent unauthorized access to your account and information.


Niagara College has created a How To Video about Multi-Factor Authentication – What is it and why is it more secure than a password alone!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why is Niagara College using multi-factor authentication?

Increasingly, bad actors try to compromise accounts to steal personal and financial information, send spam (unsolicited email), malicious software and ransomware. Ransomware is often used to block access to your data until money has been paid. Enabling MFA is an effective way of preventing these types of attacks.

Who has to use MFA? 

Niagara College employees and students will need to use MFA when accessing college resources off campus. However, some applications may require MFA regardless of location. 

How often will I have to verify my identity? 

The frequency will vary depending on geographic location, application being used and permission levels.  

Where do I find my verification code?

Mobile Devices: If you’ve set up MFA using the Microsoft Authenticator App, use that to get your code. If you chose SMS (Text) you will receive a text message with your One Time Passcode (OTP).

Security Key: If you are using a Security Key, you will need to plug this into a USB port on the device you are using to connect with.

I don’t own a mobile device, what do I use for MFA?

You can obtain a hardware Security Key to plug into a USB port on your computer.

**PLEASE NOTE** This option is not provided by Niagara College and must be purchased separately.

While using a security token is not the preferred method for MFA, students wishing to use a token must purchase the ITS approved and compatible token.

The Yubico Security Key is compatible with Microsoft MFA and other verification systems and can be purchased on the following sites:

Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC – Amazon Canada

Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC – Yubico Website

Do I have to pay for a Security Key if I want to use one?

Yes. Niagara College ITS does not supply Security Keys.

Are there any benefits to using my cell phone rather than a Security key?

Yes. The mobile app is easy to use and can be used without a data plan or if cellular reception is poor.

The Security Key is an additional item to have with you and is more likely to be forgotten rather than your mobile phone. Note: Accessing college applications and services may not be possible without MFA.

When I set up MFA, I provided information such as my personal email and cell phone number. Is that information used by other Niagara College systems?

No. Personal email addresses and phone numbers are not used in other Niagara College systems.

I was prompted to approve a login I didn’t initiate, what should I do?

Never approve a request you did not initiate. If you are receiving multiple MFA prompts but are not trying to login, be sure you do not have any applications or NC web pages open. If you are still receiving prompts, you can contact the ITS Service Desk.

How can I change my MFA settings?

College employees and students can manage their MFA devices by visiting

Note: If you would like to switch your preferred MFA option you must authenticate using your current method. For example, if your preferred MFA mechanism is set to SMS text and you would like to change it to Authenticator OTP code, you will first have to enter the code from SMS first before changing it.

What should I do if my mobile device/Security Key is lost or stolen?

In the event of a lost or stolen phone or Security Key please contact the ITS Service Desk so that the lost device can be removed from your account.

I removed the app or have a new device. What should I do?

If you have a new device and no longer have access to the old one, please contact the ITS Service desk so your MFA mechanism can be reset.

Configure your Microsoft Authenticator App

Option 1: Register on your Apple or Android device (Recommended)

1. On the Start by getting the app page, select Download now to download and install the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device, and then select Next.

2. If you want to use an authenticator app other than the Microsoft Authenticator app, select I want to use a different authenticator app.

3. If you would like to use a different method besides the authenticator app (SMS Text or Phone Call) you can select I want to set up a different method.

4. Remain on the Set up your account page while you set up the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device.

5. Open the Microsoft Authenticator app, select to allow notifications (if prompted), select Add account from the Customize and control icon on the upper-right, and then select Work or school account.

6. Return to the Set up your account page on your computer, and then select Next. The Scan the QR code page appears.

7. Scan the provided code with the Microsoft Authenticator app QR code reader, which appeared on your mobile device after you created your work or school account in Step 6.

8. The authenticator app should successfully add your work or school account without requiring any additional information from you. However, if the QR code reader can’t read the code, you can select Can’t scan the QR code and manually enter the code and URL into the Microsoft Authenticator app. For more information about manually adding a code, see Manually add an account to the app.

9. Select Next on the Scan the QR code page on your computer. A notification is sent to the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device, to test your account.

10. Approve the notification in the Microsoft Authenticator app, and then select Next. Your security info is updated to use the Microsoft Authenticator app by default to verify your identity when using two-step verification or password reset.

Microsoft Authenticator is now setup for your account.

Option 2: Register for SMS Text Messages (or Calling) in a browser

1. Visit and sign in with your Niagara college Student name i.e. [email protected]

2. You will be prompted to provide additional information, click Next


3. Choose the appropriate Country where your phone number resides, select Call Me or Send me a code by text message (or Call me) and click Next


4. If you chose text message, enter the code and click verify or answer the phone call and step through the prompts.


You have now successfully setup your device!

Setting up your Yubico Security Key

You must create your security key and give it a unique PIN before you can sign in to your work or school account using the key. You may have up to 10 keys registered with your account.

1. Go to the My Profile page at and sign in with your Niagara College login.

2. Select Security Info, select Add method, and then select Security key from the Add a method drop-down list.

3. Add method box, with Security key selected

4. Select Add, and then select the type of security key you have, either USB device or NFC device.

5. Have your security key physically available and then in the Security key box, select Next.

A new box appears to help walk you through setting up your new sign-in method.

6. In the Setting up your new sign-in method box, select Next, and then:

  • a. If your security key is a USB device, insert your security key into the USB port of your device.
  • b. If your security key is an NFC device, tap your security key to your reader.

7. Type your unique security key PIN into the Windows security box, and then select OK. You’ll return to the Setting up your new sign-in method box.

8. Select Next.

9. Return to the Security info page, type a name you’ll recognize later for your new security key, and then select Next.

10. Your security key is registered and ready for you to use for signing into your Niagara College account.

11. Select Done to close the Security key box.

12. The Security info page is updated with your security key information.