Enhanced Security through Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Since passwords alone are no longer sufficient enough to provide adequate protection against cyber hacking,  Pennsylvania Highlands Community College (PHCC) is deploying a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) solution to enhance security for your PHCC account. In a nutshell, MFA is an added security measure to protect your login similar to how you would protect your bank account or credit card. PHCC will utilize Microsoft Office 365 to provide a two-factor authentication solution for all college users (faculty, staff, and students).  MFA works by layering multiple (usually two or more) methods (or factors) to authenticate your login attempt.

The following will be used as factors to authenticate you and allow access to the requested service.

  • Your PHCC username and password (something you know)
  • A phone (mobile or office) or a tablet (something you have)

Note: You can use an authenticator app on your mobile device which allows you to directly approve the sign-in attempt.  You can also choose to send a text message to your mobile device, or have the system call your office phone to provide you with a verification code.

Getting enrolled in MFA?

  • IT will enroll you in MFA for your account
    • Will be required for PHCC Employees
    • PHCC Students 
  • Users must have an active PHCC account
  • Multiple Factor registration via Enrollment of at least 1 mobile device such as phones, tablets, and/or other hardware devices

    • The Microsoft Authenticator App on your mobile device (preferred method)
    • A Text message with a code to your personal device
    • An email message with a code to your personal Email Address
    • A phone call at your desk/mobile phone

If you need assistance, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 814-262-6470 or helpdesk@pennhighlands.edu

Download the Microsoft Authenticator App from your favorite app store:


Who is required to use MFA?{expander}

All PHCC employees are required to use MFA. This includes:

  • Faculty  (full-time and part-time)
  • Staff  (full-time and part-time)
  • Students

What if I have questions or need help?{expander}

If you need assistance related to MFA, send an email to helpdesk@pennhighlands.edu.   You may also visit the Help Desk or call 814-262-3826.

How often will I have to use MFA?{expander}

When accessing apps including Office365, Brightspace, etc. off-campus outside of the PHCC Network you will be required to MFA once every 30 days. However, if you are accessing these resources from a new device or new application (I.E Edge, Chrome, Firefox) for the first time, you will be required to MFA again.

Why is the Microsoft Authenticator App Recommend?{expander}

The Microsoft Authenticator App grants access to your account with one click and can be used to login without the need for cellular data or wireless connections. Simply use the changing number (authentication code) when MFA is required. This makes the Authenticator App perfect for overseas travel when your cellular or wireless connections may be incurring additional charges.

Where can I get the Microsoft Authenticator App?{expander}

Download the Microsoft Authenticator App from your Favorite app store:


Can I use a land-line or office phone as my second factor?{expander}

Yes, but we strongly recommend you use a cellphone if you choose the call option. If you're asked to use MFA in a location where your land-line is unavailable, you won't gain access to your accounts.

What are the Benefits of using MFA?{expander}

  • Assurance for PHCC that only authorized users can gain access to critical information.
  • Meets compliance requirements from government (federal and state) and best use practices in security from industry
  • Users can use their existing smartphones; the convenience of integrating the “something you have” with something that users already have is a benefit to users while keeping service overhead costs low.
  • Users can also use cell phones that are not smartphones, tablets and Microsoft Authenticator app.
  • Positive user experience with easy enrollment of a device and installation of the mobile app using the self-enrollment portal.
  • Most smartphone platforms are supported for users to authenticate with or without cell service.
  • Real-time alert notification for fraudulent authentication attempts (smartphones only).

What are some of the features of MFA?{expander}

  • Reliable hosted cloud-based service.
  • Flexible integrations with application login workflow to protect systems and services.
  • User self-enrollment.
  • Microsoft’s smartphone app provides a highly secure method of challenge and response that mitigates many of the problems that can arise with traditional hardware tokens.
  • Users can use Microsoft Authenticator (smartphone only) for one-tap authentication (requires data or wifi connectivity).
  • Users can generate a passcode through the Microsoft Authenticator App (smartphone only) with no connectivity at all (mirroring hardware token functionality).
  • Privacy is maintained with no passwords and personally identifiable information sent to Microsoft.

How much does MFA cost?{expander}

  • MFA is part of the Microsoft licensing that is centrally funded through the College and supported through the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS).
  • Smartphone/tablet mobile app (Microsoft Authenticator) is free with use of this service.

MFA Instructions

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