Information Technology Services (ITS) is adding Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications, which includes Outlook email, Teams, OneDrive, Word, and more on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Added to more than 90 WSU applications since initial project implementation in 2019, MFA is now a best practice across nearly every industry dealing with sensitive information.

“A couple weeks ago, I received a multi-factor authentication notification from Disney+ that said, ‘Hey, please enter this number, because we see you logged in from France,” said Robert Crossler, associate professor and chair of Management, Information Systems, Entrepreneurship (MISE) at WSU. “I was sitting in Pullman, Washington, like, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m not logging in from France, right now.”

As a top research university with over 60,000 active community members, WSU is no exception to the need for heightened information security. Universities like WSU arguably require the strongest security infrastructures of all, due to the sheer amount and variety of sensitive information involved. As CIO and VP Sasi Pillay explains, WSU is moving toward a “student-centric ecosystem,” where an array of information from multiple systems—health and wellness, financial data, etc.—is analyzed holistically in order to better serve Cougs.

“We’re bringing everything into a single pane of glass,” Pillay said.  “So advisors or faculty members have all the information needed to support their students on multiple dimensions.”

We are collecting a lot of unique and personalized information, which means we have all the more reason to continue to protect it with all of our ability.”

MFA and Email

Though MFA will be added to the entirety of Office 365 applications at WSU, the impact to email is important to note. Beginning Oct. 29, Outlook is the only recommended application Cougs should use to access their WSU email.

To avoid potential access concerns, ITS asks that all WSU email users check each of their devices for any email applications currently tied to their WSU email account. If any of these apps aren’t the latest version of Outlook (Outlook 2019 and 2016 for Windows, and Outlook 2019 for Mac), it is best practice to remove those third party email applications prior to Oct. 29.

Visit the ITS website for more information including Changing to Outlook FAQs: Combining calendars, managing notifications, and more.

For assistance with questions, please visit Crimson Service Desk online, via phone 509-335-4357, or via email.