Multi-factor authentication for Office365

You’ve probably seen a wealth of reports in the past couple of months regarding the stealing of intimate photos of celebrities and the subsequent posting of these images online. It’s believed this was made possible through the use of third party software which obtained the users’ login id and password, one way of preventing this from happening is to implement multi-factor authentication (or two-step verification) to stop the tool from being able to infiltrate the relevant service’s internet storage.

Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password. With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in.

This addition of multi-factor authentication is part of Microsoft’s ongoing effort to enhance security for Office 365, and they’re already working on Office desktop application improvements to Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365. Office 365 offers many robust built-in security features for all customers and also optional controls that enable subscribers to customise their security preferences.

After a user is enabled for multi-factor authentication, they will be required to configure their second factor of authentication at the next login. Each subsequent login is enforced and will require use of the password and second factor of authentication, any of the following may be used for the second factor;

  1. Call my mobile phone. The user receives a phone call that asks them to press the pound key. Once the pound key is pressed, the user is logged in.
  2. Text code to my mobile phone. The user receives a text message containing a six-digit code that they must enter into the portal.
  3. Call my office phone. This is the same as Call my mobile phone, but it enables the user to select a different phone if they do not have their mobile phone with them.
  4. Notify me through app. The user configured a smartphone app and they receive a notification in the app that they must confirm the login. Smartphone apps are available for Windows Phone, iPhone, and Android devices.
  5. Show one-time code in app. The same smartphone app is used. Instead of receiving a notification, the user starts the app and enters the six-digit code from the app into the portal.


It may not be intimate photos (we hope not!) that are stored in your Inbox or OneDrive but the risk is the same – could you afford for your account to be compromised, what are the consequences of somebody obtaining your user id and password? To find out how multi-factor authentication for Office365 can help eliminate this risk contact us on 01695 731233 or drop us an email to

Student Advantage and Office 365 ProPlus FAQ

We’re often asked about how to enable editing on the Office Mobile apps for iOS and Android, by adding the Student Advantage license to your Office 365 Education plan, students can take advantage of the full version of Office on PC, Mac, iOS and Android platforms.

Office 365 ProPlus will be offered to students at no additional charge if all your faculty and staff are already licensed for Office 2013 Professional Plus via EES agreement or via Office 365 ProPlus subscription. This is incredible news for students as they can now take advantage of all that Office 365 ProPlus has to offer.


What is included with Office 365 ProPlus subscription license?

  • Office 365 ProPlus for PC (Office 2013 ProPlus base applications)
  • Office 365 ProPlus for Mac (Office 2011 for Mac base applications)
  • Office Mobile for iPhone
  • Office for iPad
  • Office Mobile for Android

How many machines/devices can I run this subscription on?

Each subscription license allows you to run Office on up to five machines being Mac or PC. You can also run Office Mobile for Android, Office Mobile for iPhone or Office for iPad on up to 5 mobile devices.

Is this a full version Office and available for offline use?

Yes, this is full Office on the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android platform and all are available for offline use.

What applications come with Office 365 ProPlus for PC?

Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013, OneNote 2013, Access 2013, Publisher 2013, Outlook 2013, Lync 2013, InfoPath 2013

What comes with Office 365 ProPlus for Mac?

Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, Outlook 2011

What comes with Office Mobile for iPhone?

Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile

OneNote and Lync Mobile available as separate download.

What comes with Office for iPad?

Word for iPad, Excel for iPad, PowerPoint for iPad

OneNote and Lync Mobile available as separate download.

What comes with Office Mobile for Android?

Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile

OneNote and Lync Mobile available as separate download

Do students have to sign into Office 365 to use any of these applications with Office 365 ProPlus?

Yes, a valid Office 365 ProPlus license tied to a valid Office 365 login for students is required to enable any of the four Office 365 ProPlus features.

How long can a student leverage Office 365 ProPlus?

The guidelines are they can leverage this until they graduate or are no longer attending your school. At that point, you must disable their Office 365 ProPlus license.


Further details on Office 365 Education are available on our website at


Independent Tests Validate Meru 802.11ac AP832i as Fastest Wi-Fi in the Market

High Performance tests validate Meru’s superiority with video, voice and data

Today’s wireless LANs require higher performance to meet the demands of more users, carrying more devices, and using more applications. Meru was early to market with 802.11ac and has been aggressive in developing solutions with data rates that rival wired networks. The Tolly Group recently conducted a series of rigorous performance tests evaluating the Meru AP832i against the Cisco 3702i and Aruba AP-225 Wi-Fi solutions and the AP832i was consistently found to be superior.

the Meru AP832i was consistently found to be superior

the Meru AP832i was consistently found to be superior

Testing included single and multi-AP setups with video, voice and high-bandwidth data. The Meru AP832i consistently outperformed competitive 802.11ac solutions on both 40 and 80 MHz wide channels.
The Bottom Line:
  • Meru consistently outperformed Aruba and Cisco solutions in all test scenarios
  • Meru delivered 2x the throughput of Aruba when handling video, voice and data
  • Meru exhibited significantly lower latency with video traffic than either Aruba or Cisco

So, why is this important for your school or college? A school’s success in launching digital learning will be directly impacted by the performance of its wireless LAN. A wireless LAN that cannot provide predictable performance and service in dense user environments, deliver high definition video, or provide reliable connectivity for critical on-line testing, will impact class time, create frustrated users, and turn users off from wanting to use the new program.

These issues disrupt classrooms and learning and slow down the adoption of new learning initiatives, which will impact the expected Return on Investment.

Due to the unprecedented amount of enquiries we’ve had concerning 802.11ac and the recent success of Meru’s 802.11ac upgrade campaign, we’ve organised a free seminar to discuss and demonstrate Meru’s 802.11ac. Watch out for an email invitation from us and in the meantime mark the date in your diary, 4th July 2014 9am – 2pm at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Upcoming features in Sophos UTM enhances and further simplifies security in schools

One of the most important aspects of a schools internet service is it’s security. Advanced threat protection and customisable web filtering should be a given with any security solution,  but unless your able to deploy that security in the school across any device, and with a minimal amount of effort, it quickly becomes ineffective, leading to breaches in security.

At Virtue, simplicity is our mantra – you have complete control over all the security features you need in one place, with none of the complexity. To strengthen and simplify the security of our internet solutions we’ll be delivering the following enhancements to the Unified Threat Management (UTM) Appliances installed as part of our internet solution.

Transparent Single Sign-on

All the possibilities the internet provides makes it difficult to ensure end users exercise great judgement about where they are browsing, hence we deploy filtering in our schools –  this can be as simple as blocking the seedier side of the internet, or limiting browsing to education-related content. However, the Sophos UTM makes it simple to enforce a range of different policies for different users. For example, you can manage what students can access whilst still enabling teachers and staff some leeway to make use of important sites.

These user-based web policies aren’t new, however, they have been known to come with headaches. During the planning stages, we discussed with customers their experiences and how they can be improved. The main issue that rang out was having to install a User Agent on all endpoints to enable enforced user-based policies. Therefore, Sophos engineers have come up with a truly simple solution: transparent single sign-on.

The transparent single sign-on works by transparently communicating with the browser to authenticate with the UTM in the background, without impacting the user. The browser sends the user’s AD credentials with the UTM recording the traffic and applying the right policy on a per user basis , with no extra software agents.

Device-Specific Authentication

Another challenge we’re seeing in our schools is enabling the safe use of mobile devices. Staff and students want to bring and use their own smartphones and tablets at school.

Whilst the Sophos UTM recognizes iOS, Mac, Blackberry, Android and a range of other device types unfortunately these devices can’t always make use of the same authentication protocols as PCs. Within a school, you may wish to ensure users go through a log in page before browsing to ensure security is maintained. Previously, the only option for this would be segregating various devices into different subnets, or even different Wi-Fi networks. However with BYOD rapidly becoming the norm, this approach was becoming outdated.

Upcoming changes to the UTM will analyse network streams and quickly tell what device it’s originating from. By recognising different fingerprints in the network stream, it can differentiate a Windows PC from an iPad or an Android device from a Mac. This can then be used to specify different authentication options for each device, without having to re-structure the network.

Transparent single sign-on and device-specific authentication are just two of the many features that help ensure the protection of your staff and students with our internet service. We’re currently testing the new functionality in our lab and as soon as that’s complete the service department will be in contact with all our customers to schedule the upgrades.

Achievement through innovation

Whether you are an education expert looking for fresh ideas – or you are looking to pick up some free additional CPD training and advice about how to integrate technology and innovation into learning – Education Innovation will be for you.

We realise that time and resources are incredibly valuable for education professionals and also that when correctly implemented and applied, technology and innovation can help to raise the performance of staff and the achievement of pupils.

We know that the vast majority of national events are held in London and the South East, so this year we’re exhibiting at a national conference and exhibition which is free and accessible to a much broader range of our customers.

The free, two-day, national event takes place at Manchester Central on the 27/28 February and will offer access to inspirational keynote speakers, CPD training, workshops, and a full exhibition of innovative solutions.

The event is designed to help education professionals to raise achievement and performance by effectively integrating innovation and technology into the learning environment.  It includes contributions from Government ministers, the Department for Education, OFSTED, BIS, Naace, NFER, NTAB, IoE, Jisc, BCS and many more.

The theme of the event is “achievement though innovation” with topics covered including:

  • Improving your OFSTED performance
  • Guidance on implementing the new curriculum
  • E-safety and dealing with cyberbullying
  • Mobile learning, tablets and BYOD
  • More effective use of MIS / Cloud Computing / Data management
  • Apprenticeships and innovative ways to encourage entrepreneurism
  • More effective and efficient procurement
  • Change management for introducing computing into the curriculum
  • Technology supporting dyslexia and autism

See the website to view the amazing line up of speakers and supporters, or to put your institution forward for an Education Innovation Award (closing deadline 31st January).

Education Innovation is also co-located with:

Find out more at

We hope to see you there!

We get it … email’s not for everyone! Welcome to our blog.

It’s often a difficult decision deciding on how best to stay in touch with our customers and partners. As many of you know we do from time to time send out (hopefully relevant) emails with details of deals, technology news and support information, however, if you’re anything like me then I receive literally hundreds of emails every single day and I prefer to get my news from services such as twitter and wordpress.

So, as of right now we’ve launched this blog where we aim to keep you up to date with all the latest news and information on Education ICT. We’ll also be inviting industry experts to submit their thoughts and comments on different topics and how technology can impact and complement the educational outcome within your schools.

We hope you find our blog useful, please do comment and let us know if you think it’s worthwhile or if you’d like to talk to us about becoming a guest blogger.