Change to the way your University account is authenticated

The University is currently undergoing a large-scale Digital Transformation Programme.  As part of this programme, we need to change the way your account is authenticated when you log on to systems like Microsoft Office 365.

How will this affect me?

The simple answer is, not very much. 

The password entry pages will remain the same, your account name and password will be unchanged and Duo (two factor authentication) will continue to work as before. 

When the change happens, you may be asked to login again a few times on Office 365 applications, particularly Teams and Outlook.

The sign on page will look different:

Current sign on page on left next to new sign on page on right

The current page (on the left in this image) has a picture of campus, the username and pasword fields are on the same page and there are a number of other links on the page. The new sign on screen (on the right in this image) is much simpler (with no images or other links except 'forgotten my password') and you will be asked for your username on one screen, then your password on the next. 

You will also be prompted for Duo two factor authentication when you logon, but can reduce the number of times you are prompted in future by ticking the 'Remember me for 30 days' box before you authenticate with Duo.

Single Sign-On

We are working towards full Seamless Single Sign-On. This means that when you first logon to a University System, you will be challenged once for your password and Duo token and this will then grant you access to all authorised applications and data, without needing to log on again. 

However, while we are moving to this, depending on what you are trying to access and from where (remote or campus), you may asked to logon multiple times.

This doesn’t mean there is an issue with your user account or password, and you should simply enter the details as requested.  As more users and systems are transferred over to Cloud, these additional logon requests will disappear.

Why is the change happening?

The University is currently undergoing a large-scale Digital Transformation Programme.  This comprises of a number of key projects to modernise the IT Infrastructure, bringing substantial benefits in both the short and long-term.  Not only will this provide more secure, resilient and supportable systems, but it will also be a gateway to modern Cloud-based platforms to enable the University to maintain a strong IT service, critical to its thousands of colleagues, researchers and students.

One key enabler for this transformation work is the moving of your user account from the on-premise system of authentication to the Microsoft Cloud (known as Azure).

Most of you probably already use Cloud Authentication without even realising.  If you use Google Cloud or Apple’s iCloud then you are already doing this.  So it is nothing new.

Why is this a good thing?

The authentication services take your user account, validates it is you by a combination of passwords and Duo tokens, and then provides you with secure authorisation to the University systems and IT resources such as applications, files and data. 

Moving this service to the Microsoft Cloud will give three main advantages, firstly it is much more secure, secondly cloud authentication is globally available and thirdly any patches, updates and potential threat vulnerabilities can be automatically deployed across the service.

In addition to this, a large number of the University’s servers and applications will also be moving to the Cloud and it therefore creates a more integrated experience.