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Unlock Your Passwordless Future with Cardinal Key

Monday, March 15, 2021

Between now and September 2021, University IT (UIT) will be asking all university employees to join the 6,000 faculty and staff who are already using Cardinal Key.

You may know Cardinal Key for its passwordless logins, but it has an additional purpose that has become an urgent need for Stanford: to ensure our computers are properly protected now that our workforce is more dispersed.

What to expect

Two weeks prior to your enrollment date, you will receive an email invitation to set up your Cardinal Key(s). The message will include setup instructions as well as a link to request a temporary exception if needed. Installation only takes a few minutes per device, then you’re set for five years!

Email reminders will be sent to you one week prior and one day prior. Beginning on your enrollment date, your Cardinal Key will be needed to access webmail, Axess, and Google Docs (including Google Drive) from your devices.

Get ahead of the curve

There’s no need to wait for your Cardinal Key invitation. You can set up Cardinal Key today using the instructions below. 

  1. Verify that your devices appear in MyDevices and that they show as compliant. The device detail will indicate whether a Cardinal Key has already been installed. Newly installed Cardinal Keys will be reflected in MyDevices within 24 hours.
  2. Install a Cardinal Key on each device using the instructions at To simplify the process on a laptop/desktop, try our new installer.
  3. On each device, enable Cardinal Key in each web browser you use via
  4. On each device, test Cardinal Key in each web browser you use via If you see the “It’s working” message, then you’re in good shape for that browser on that device.

If you encounter any technical hurdles along the way, submit a Help request to the Information Security Office or contact us via the #iso-cardinalkey Slack channel.

The big picture: Healthy Devices @ Stanford

Adopting Cardinal Key is part of a broader plan to modernize Stanford employee devices by September 2021. Allowing for exceptions, the desired end state is for employee devices to be configured as follows:

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