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Securing Northwestern Email for Early Adopters

Securing Northwestern Email Pilot

August 4 – August 28, 2020

Thank you for participating in the pilot to evaluate your experience to secure Northwestern email. Here you can find detailed information about what to expect during the pilot period, instructions on how to prepare for the change, how to provide feedback, and where to go for support.

As an early adopter, please know that changes introduced during this pilot will remain in the Northwestern Office 365 environment after the evaluation period.

What to Expect

Once support for Basic Authentication is decommissioned, you may be required to update your operating system and/or Exchange-reliant applications to versions that support Modern Authentication. Review the “E-mail and Modern Authentication” knowledge base article on this topic.

MFA will be activated, on a rolling basis, on all of your Northwestern Office 365 applications—including University email, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Excel, among others. The activation process may take up to one hour to complete across the suite of applications.

Once MFA is activated on your account, you will need to (re)log-in to your O365 applications, adding the Duo authentication step. You may not notice a prompt to (re)log-in to in-use O365 applications that you have running in the background on your device, but you will stop receiving notifications on those applications and their activity will pause until you do so.

At the conclusion of the pilot period, you will be asked to complete a short survey to provide feedback on your experience.

How to Prepare

Prepare for Modern Authentication

Most devices are already configured with modern authentication and will not notice any impact in access or use of University email or other O365 applications once basic authentication is decommissioned.

However, those who are using older versions of Outlook, using an email client other than Outlook, or who do not have Outlook installed on their mobile devices, may need to make updates to ensure that they maintain access to University email. For mobile devices, please be aware that your operating system should be current. Also, it might be necessary to install the Outlook app on the device. Please review the E-mail and Modern Authentication guide for a list of devices, update instructions, and tips.

In rare instances where modern authentication cannot be used for specific devices or applications, Northwestern IT recommends users rely on Northwestern webmail (OWA) for accessing University email.

Prepare for Multi-factor Authentication on O365

  • Use the “Remember Me” feature to reduce the number of times you will be required to authenticate. Understand how “Remember Me” works.
  • Northwestern IT recommends using the Duo Mobile app to receive a “push” to your mobile device—smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. This notification option remains the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to use the service, and is also more cost-effective than using the “Call Me” or “Send me a code” functionality.
  • If you are currently using Duo with any sign-on option other than “push”, you can make a new selection by managing your options under “My settings & Devices” in Duo. Contact the Northwestern IT Service Desk at or 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) if you need support with making a change to the “push” notification type.
  • Users accessing shared accounts may encounter different experiences with the need to authenticate depending on how they access the shared account. Review this knowledge base article on Organizational Office 365 accounts and Duo MFA.

How to Provide Feedback

All questions, concerns, and issues during the pilot should be addressed with the Northwestern IT Service Desk at or (847) 491-4357 (1-HELP). Please be sure to identify yourself as a Securing Email Project pilot participant.

At the end of the pilot period, you will be asked to complete a short survey about your experience. Your feedback will be used by Northwestern Information Technology to finalize documentation, prepare support resources, and minimize disruption to our community as we move forward with this project.

Support Resources