Duo MFA is Required for CUIMC email and Office 365 Beginning March 30th

In response to credible cyber-threats faced by U.S. institutions from geo-political tensions in Ukraine and Russia, CUIMC will be taking immediate steps to better secure our user identities and access to enterprise applications. 

CUIMC Duo Multifactor Authentication (MFA) will be required when signing in to CUIMC email and Office 365 apps from off campus beginning March 30th, please enroll now if you do not already use CUIMC Duo MFA with Cisco VPN. Note that you must also be using a compatible email program ast of March 17th. This is being implemented by CUIMC Information Security to provide added security for users and the applications.

What is changing?

When logging into any CUIMC Microsoft Office 365 Applications from an off-campus network, you will be prompted to use CUIMC Duo MFA after you enter your CUIMC Office 365 credentials (your CUIMC email and its password). Note that this will include your CUIMC email account when opening Outlook or via other methods. See an example animation here.

What action is required now?

You can currently access CUIMC email and Office 365 as you normally do until March 29, 2022. However, for a seamless transition and to avoid interruptions to your workday when MFA is enabled, it is highly recommended that you pre-enroll in CUIMC Duo now if you aren’t already enrolled. NOTE: If you can successfully sign in to CUIMC Cisco VPN you are already enrolled in CUIMC Duo, be sure to verify before March 30th. 

Beginning March 30, 2022, you will be required to be enrolled in CUIMC Duo before connecting to CUIMC Office 365 from off-campus networks. You will not be able to authenticate (sign in) to CUIMC Office 365, including CUIMC email and Outlook, without using Duo MFA. To access CUIMC Office 365 you will be prompted to complete a second step of verification using CUIMC Duo MFA (note: if you aren’t enrolled in MFA, you will be prompted to enroll at that time). 

Why do we need MFA?

Phishing attacks targeting passwords are one of the most common attacks we see. MFA can protect you from that by using at least two factors of authentication to verify your identity. 

Login credentials are valuable and are increasingly easy to compromise. MFA provides much stronger assurance that information and access is provided to the intended individual and is protected against access by a malicious actor with compromised credentials. Essentially, we want to prevent anyone but you from accessing your account. 

What is Duo?

Duo Security is the company that Columbia University Irving Medical Center is using for MFA. It is currently required for CUIMC Virtual Private Network (VPN)

What if I already have Duo for Columbia (CU)?

CUIMC Duo is specifically for CUIMC-related services and separate from CU Duo. You will need to enroll in CUIMC Duo for services that require it. 

How can I find out more or get help?

Visit https://mfa.cumc.columbia.edu. You can also contact the CUIMC IT Service Desk by calling 5-HELP (212-305-4357), option 5. During peak call hours please remember there is also a Chat option for contacting support. 

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and participation in improving the security posture of CUIMC.


Chad Neal 
Chief Information Officer 
Columbia University Irving Medical Center 

Eme C. Ejike 
Chief Information Security Officer 
Columbia University Irving Medical Center