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Microsoft dual factor Authentication

Protecting data in this digital era is of prime importance. Recent years have seen multiple case studies around hackers, frauds and threats. Organizations today have reached the “password breaking point” and are forced to strengthen the user authentication with alternative security methods.

Microsoft recently rolled out two-factor authentication across all its product lines ranging from Windows PCs, Phones, SkyDrive, Office, Skype, and Outlook thru its “Microsoft Account id”.

Microsoft & Phone Factor 

Microsoft acquired PhoneFactor, a leading authentication solution, around October’12. With PhoneFactor, Microsoft is bringing about effective secure solutions for its application and cloud services. Prior to the acquisition, PhoneFactor was already hugely compatible with Multifactor authentication for Microsoft’s OWA, AD and IIS.

So what is this two step process all about? In addition to your existing user account and password details, you would be required to provide a second form of identification in the form of mail/sms from your preferred option (you can select it to be any device- PC/smart phone/Tablet, and it continues to be the common source to which successive codes will be sent ).What this also means is that it isn’t just enough for an attacker to know your passwords alone but also being equipped with your device, which is difficult. This very strongly means that an intruder needs to have your device too in addition to your password to hack. This authentication will reduces the window of opportunity for fraudsters and can mitigate online attacks.

Browser compatibility: You also have of minimizing the prompts you face across all browsers (not just IE). 

Validity: The verification will get reset if you don’t access the device for 60 days.

App: Microsoft has also come up with an app which is very handy when you are on the move. The app is called as “Authenticator App” for Windows phone. The app generates security code (based on industry standard best practices for code generation with all service providers). You can add your account to the app thru entering serial code key or by scanning the bar code. 

Additionally if your source (any device) isn’t supporting the two-step authentication, Microsoft is helping you do to create a specific app password for your device.

Protecting yourself from being compromised by malicious attacks is the key to neutralizing active attacks. Arming yourself with a technology like two-step verification can keep you and your data secure from any attack/breach. It certainly isn’t a mandate to enable this feature, totally at your discretion! But yes, it does enhance and ensure your safe engagement for your accounts and Microsoft has brought this about in a very user-savvy fashion. An added layer of security can indeed make a huge difference and make our lives easier.

Anita Raj
Technology Evangelist
Team @MSExchangeGuru

2 Responses to “Microsoft dual factor Authentication”

  1. akhil Says:

    Hi Anita,
    Thanks for your article. It was an informative overview. I have two questions:
    a. Does this new feature mean i dont need 3rd party commecial software for 2fac authentication with exchange?
    b. What versions of Exchange / OWA etc is this supported in (specifically is this available in Exchange2013?)

    thanks in advance,


  2. Windows10- How Will It Protect YOU Against Data Breaches~! « Says:

    […] most fundamental concept these days is “Two Factor Authentication” (To Get more info : Click ).But what matters is how enterprises go about in making it […]

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