MFA - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

MFA is a common but effective security tool to help keep your Minnesota State Office 365 account and information safe, adding an additional layer of protection using more than one verification method (such as only using a password), preventing cybercriminals, hackers, and “bad actors” gaining access to your personal information, including your email, documents, grades, or financial aid information at Normandale Community College.

Where is MFA used?

MFA will first be used when logging into Microsoft Office 365, which includes Outlook (email), Word (papers, letters, etc.), Excel (spreadsheets), and PowerPoint (presentations).  In addition, MFA will be used when accessing your OneDrive, where documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or any other files for Normandale Community College should be saved. 

In the future additional applications and websites for Normandale Community College will be added to support MFA.  Watch for these announcements!

Does MFA Prompt me EVERY TIME I access Office 365?

You can dramatically reduce how often MFA prompts you, as it can “remember” your MFA setup from the devices you use exclusively and are responsible for, such as a Normandale Community College device personally issued to you or your personally owned device (mobile, home computer, etc.). 

Do not use this feature on any public device, such as a shared computer or kiosk anyone can use, including public computers in the library or other locations at Normandale Community College.

To have MFA “remember,” after you login the first time and use MFA, click on the “Don’t show this again” check box and then click “Yes.”

MFA Methods

What ways can I set up to use MFA?

There are several methods you can use for MFA. The options available at Normandale Community College are the following:

  • Use the Microsoft Authenticator app on your smartphone or mobile device
  • Receive a text on your mobile phone.
  • Use an alternate Authenticator app.
  • Receive a voice call on your mobile phone or home phone.
    Employees: do not use your work phone to set up MFA. Normandale uses Teams, which you won't have access to without authentication.

None of these methods will work for me. What should I do?

If you don't believe an of the options for MFA will work due to your unique situation, please contact the Normandale ITS Help Desk to discuss - there are some additional methods that could work for you.

I don’t want to use my personal device.  How can I set up MFA?

If you have concerns about using your personal device because Normandale's data may be stored on your device or have privacy concerns using MFA, don’t be!  There is NO data stored on your device or transmitted between your device and Normandale Community College or Minnesota State.

You do not have to use your personal smartphone for verification. You can set multi-factor authentication to verify through a phone call. Follow the set-up instructions below:

Where can I get help for MFA?

If you have continued questions or concerns, please contact the Normandale ITS Help Desk. They will be able to get answers, provide assistance, or discuss MFA options that may work best for you. You can call (952) 358-8181 or submit a request online.

What else do I need to know about MFA?

There are a few things to keep in mind regarding MFA:

  1. When you change your StarID password, MFA will prompt you the next time you logon to Office 365, even on devices you configured to have MFA “remember” you.
  2. Once you are enabled with MFA your account will use MFA and follow you, even if you decide to move between any college or university that is part of the Minnesota State system.  Click HERE to see which colleges and universities are part of Minnesota State.
  3. If you are using MFA for other systems outside of Normandale Community College on your device, you can still you MFA for those as well. In fact, you may be able to use the same MFA method.


You can set up MFA using text codes from both Normandale and your bank on the same personal device you have.

Note that there is NO ability for the different systems to talk to each other using the same device.


Always be on your guard!

Even with MFA, criminals and bad actors will try ways to scam you!

  1. NO ONE, including Normandale will ever call you to ask to press “Approve” on a notification or to give them your Authenticator app or texted code. 
  2. THINK BEFORE YOU AUTOMATICALLY APPROVE. If you were not logging into your account yourself, and were not expecting it…
  3. DO NOT ANSWER an “Approval” request coming from your Authenticator app.
  4. DO NOT ENTER THE REQUEST KEY(S) if you receive a voice call on your mobile device, office, or alternate phone.  Ensure your spouse or trusted family doesn’t automatically enter the key(s) without checking with you first.

Additional Questions

I am not receiving any verification codes to sign in

Multi-factor authentication for Microsoft Office 365 does not always require verification if it remembers the device you are using. On the devices that Office 365 remembers, it will periodically ask for verification, but not every time.

What email clients are compatible with Office 365 multi-factor authentication?

The following email clients are compatible with Office 365 multi-factor authentication:

  • Outlook for Windows
  • Outlook for macOS
  • Outlook for Android
  • Outlook for iOS
  • Gmail app for Android
  • Mail app for iOS
  • Mozilla Thunderbird is not supported at this time.  Mozilla has announced future support (currently in beta)



Was this helpful?
0 reviews


Article ID: 118005
Thu 10/8/20 4:53 PM
Thu 7/21/22 10:32 AM

Related Articles (2)

You have the ability to enable multi-factor authentication on your Microsoft Office 365 account for extra security to help protect your information and keep the College safe.
MFA is the best way to prevent someone who steals your StarID password from accessing your Office 365 account.