Multi-factor authentication and personal smartphones

Over the past couple of weeks, NASA heard from several employees who have concerns about the implementation of the university's multi-factor authentication protocol or MFA. Specifically, these employees were concerned about the university's messaging that it is mandatory to install the required app on their personal smartphone if they do not have a university-supplied smartphone.

It is NASA's view that the employer cannot require an employee to use their personal smartphone in order to perform work for the employer. NASA was not consulted and was unaware that these plans were in the works; it came as a complete surprise to us when employees started contacting us.

We raised the issue at our joint labour/management meeting earlier this week and were advised that there is an alternative to downloading the app on one's personal phone: MFA key fobs that can be used instead. In order to obtain one, an employee needs to work with their supervisor to have a faculty general manager, dean, director, or chair in their department fill out and submit a specific form to approve them receiving an MFA key fob. IST can provide detailed information, including a link to the form.

We understand that MFA is being rolled out in stages and employees will receive an email when it is their time to enroll. Once that email has been received, an employee has 30 days in which to become enrolled before their access to university applications and systems that utilize CCIDs for authentication is impacted.

Installing the Duo Security app on your personal smartphone is your choice. If you've already installed it and don't want to continue using your personal smartphone, we recommend you request a key fob (as noted above). For those that don't have a university-issued smartphone, don't want to use their personal smartphone, don't have a personal smartphone, or don't have a smartphone with the necessary requirements, the MFA key fob is the alternative.

If you have any questions or concerns about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact your Labour Relations Officer (LRO) for assistance.