Multi-Factor Authentication with Duo Security

In order to better protect your ePass account and its access to your personal and institutional data, Information & Technology Services is implementing an additional security feature for employee accounts called multi-factor authenticationMany PLU web-based services and accounts that may have access to sensitive data are enabled to use multi-factor authentication. This means that in addition to providing your ePass username and password at the time of logging in, you will be required to provide an additional piece of verification before you are allowed access. Most commonly, this additional step will be done via a notification sent to your mobile phone or another device in your possession. This added security feature makes it much more difficult for unauthorized users to access your account using stolen credentials, as it asks you to verify your login using a device only you possess. The added security is an increasingly important step in keeping your personal information and PLU’s institutional data secure.  Please use the links provided below to learn more about the multi-factor login process, how to set up your account, and how to get help if you run into problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

PLU accounts are increasingly being targeted by attackers trying to gain access to sensitive personal and organizational information.  If someone mistakenly provides their credentials or otherwise has their account compromised, those credentials can be used to sign in from anywhere to collect any data that the account has access to.  Multi-factor authentication significantly limits unauthorized access, as someone would need both your credentials as well as having access to something that only you would have possession of, such as a mobile phone, to get in.  For this reason, multi-factor authentication is being implemented for PLU faculty, staff and student worker accounts.  Currently students that have not worked on campus as student workers will not have access to multi-factor authentication through Duo Security, but may add a similar protection to their PLU Gmail account on their own.  Additional information on setting up additional account verification for student accounts that do not have the multi-factor option available to them can be found on the Google 2-Step Verification website.

The current supported options for multi-factor verification with Duo Security are:

  • Mobile phones: Responding to a push notification sent to the Duo Mobile app, generating a one-time passcode in Duo Mobile, or triggering a phone call or SMS message and following login prompts (only available for some accounts).
  • Tablets or Apple Watches: Using the Duo Mobile app options available for these devices.
  • Saved Passcode: Entering a passcode from a list previously generated and saved as a backup.
  • U2F Token: Linking a U2F authentication key with your account and having it plugged into the specific device you are connecting from (must be purchased separately).  Contact the I&TS Help Desk for details regarding obtaining a U2F token.

When you are signing into one of the services that requires multi-factor authentication, you should see a check-box at the bottom of the screen that says “Remember me for ## hours/days”.  Once this box is selected, you will not be asked to provide the secondary verification from that browser on that particular device for the time listed.  Available time frames provided can range from 12 hours to 1 month and will be automatically determined for you based on your account and the specific level of data access you have.

Multi-factor authentication is available for all PLU employees as well as students that are currently working or who have previously worked as a student employee at PLU in the past. These particular groups of accounts were chosen to better provide security for those accounts with more sensitive data accessible from them. Students that have never worked on campus currently do not have the option to sign up for this service.

Once you have signed up with a Duo Security and enabled it on your PLU ePass account, you will be unable to revert back to the single authentication method.  Soon, all PLU employees and student workers will be required to have multi-factor authentication set up for their accounts. The opt-in period is offered simply to provide a smoother transition for those individuals who are ready to make the transition.

If you are unable to access your enrolled device to complete a multi-factor login with Duo Security, and you don’t have a backup phone defined, you have the following options:

  • use a (previously generated) backup code that you saved
  • contact the I&TS Help Desk at 253-535-7525 to assist with getting temporary access 

If you hadn’t previously generated a list of backup codes, this option will not be available to you and you will need to contact the I&TS Help Desk for assistance.

While the most convenient option for multi-factor authentication is normally linking your account to a mobile phone, there are a few other options that are available to you.  The other supported authentication devices are:

  • Landline phone (Only available for some users): Receive an automated phone call when attempting to log in and follow the instructions provided.
  • Tablet: Download the Duo Mobile app and have notifications pushed to the device, similar to the mobile phone option.
  • U2F Token: Link your Duo account to a pre-purchased device that you carry with you to connect to the computer and authenticate with when logging in. (contact the I&TS Help Desk for more information)

Currently all single-sign-on (SSO) connected applications (e.g. most web sites protected with ePass) utilize multi-factor authentication, regardless of the particular service it provides.  During the initial deployment of this service, other services that use ePass credentials, but not through SSO (e.g. windows login on your desktop, 25Live, etc.) will not use multi-factor authentication.  Over time we do expect many of these systems to either move to SSO or have multi-factor enabled, but no specific timeline is currently available.

The information collected by Duo Security during the multi-factor authentication process is similar to information that might be collected by web sites as you browse web pages. Duo does not collect detailed location information such as GPS coordinates of your mobile device.  Specific information about what data is collected can be found on Duo’s Privacy Policy page.