Microsoft Acquires PhoneFactor to Boost Mobile App Security
PhoneFactor, a company that delivers two-factor security authentication for mobile phones, has been acquired by Microsoft to enhance security for business mobile applications.Microsoft has acquired mobile security provider PhoneFactor for its two-factor authentication technology to protect business applications that enterprises deploy on smartphones for employees and customers. PhoneFactor, founded in 2001, already works with many Microsoft products and services, including Outlook Web Access, Internet Information Services and Active Directory. Over time, it could also interoperate with Office 365, the cloud-delivered version of Microsoft’s Office productivity software suite, the companies said. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. “With Microsoft’s product breadth and distribution reach, it will be possible to bring the benefits of PhoneFactor to a broader set of customers, partners and developers than we could as a stand-alone company,” wrote Timothy Sutton, PhoneFactor’s CEO, in a blog post. “And as part of Microsoft, we will work to improve the interoperability and ease of use of our solutions.” Two-factor authentication is an IT security feature that gives a user access to a company application or Website if they are successfully authenticated using two of three factors. The three authentication methods are based on what you know, what you have or who you are.
What you know refers to a common security measure in which a person enters a user name and password onto their device, such as a PC, smartphone or tablet. What you have refers to devices like a smartcard, a USB thumb drive or an encryption token that the device can recognize as a valid ID. Who you are refers to a method of identifying a person by fingerprints, a retina scan or voice recognition.