How to Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication for All Users of Your Office 365 Subscription


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Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a great security tool, and we always recommend it. Office 365 admins can enforce MFA for users, which means you can help protect anyone sharing your Office 365 business subscription.

To do this you’ll need to be an Office 365 administrator, which only happens with a business plan. If your Office 365 subscription comes as part of a domain hosting package, then you’ll have access to the Admin console. However, if you’ve just purchased a personal subscription (or home subscription for your family), then you won’t have access to the Admin console, and you can only turn MFA on for yourself. If you’re not sure, click the Office 365 app launcher and look for the Admin tile.

The Admin tile on the O365 app launcher

If it’s there, you’ve got access to the Admin console. Click the Admin tile, and on the menu on the left-hand side click Settings > Services and add-ins.

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This opens the Services and add-ins page, where you can make various tenant-level changes. One of the top items will be “Azure multi-factor authentication.”

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Click this, and on the panel that opens on the right, click “Manage multi-factor authentication.”

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This will take you to the multi-factor authentication page. You can immediately turn MFA on for anyone who is using your Office 365 subscription, but, before that it’s best to acquaint yourself with the default settings. To do this, click “Service Settings.”

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You can change whatever settings you like, or leave them as the defaults. One potential setting to look at changing is whether or not MFA can be remembered on a device. By default this is off, but turning it on means your family won’t have to go through the MFA process every time they want to check their email or edit a document.

If you switch this on, the default number of days a device can go before having to re-authenticate is 14, which means a phone/tablet/computer will be trusted for 14 days before the user has to go through the MFA process again. Having to go through the MFA process is simple, but having to do it every 2 weeks on every device that your family uses might still be a bit too much and you have the option to set this as high as 60 days.

If you do make any changes to this or any other settings, click “Save” at the bottom to the panel to save the changes, then click “users” to go back to turning on MFA.

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Now that you’ve made sure the settings are right, you can enable MFA for each user. Select the users for whom you want to turn MFA.

The users table with a selected user

To the right of the table of users, click the “Enable” option that appears.

The Enable option

On the confirmation screen, click “Enable Multi-Factor Authentication.”

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This will enable MFA for the user, and the next time they login to Office 365 on the web, they’ll have to go through a process of setting up MFA. If they don’t log in very often (or you want to make sure you’re around to help them…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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