Microsoft Locks Down the Cloud With Multifactor Authentication
Microsoft makes its Windows Azure cloud services platform a bit more hacker-resistant with a security feature that Web-facing tech companies are increasingly embracing.Businesses that offer employees, partners and customers access to their Windows Azure Active Directory (AD) managed apps can now add another layer of security to data that's stored on Microsoft's cloud. Microsoft announced Active Authentication, a new multifactor authentication offering based on the company's PhoneFactor acquisition. The software giant bought the firm in October 2011 to add two-factor, mobile phone-based secure access capabilities to its growing cloud application portfolio. Following the deal, Bharat Shah, corporate vice president for the Server and Tools Division at Microsoft, said in a statement that the buy would "bring effective and easy-to-use multifactor authentication to our cloud services and on-premise applications." "In addition, PhoneFactor's solutions will help Microsoft customers, partners and developers enhance the security of almost any authentication scenario," added Shah. Windows Azure director, Sarah Fender, announced in a June 12 blog post that the company is making good on some of its promises. "Starting today, companies can enable multi-factor authentication for Windows Azure Active Directory identities to help secure access to Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, Dynamics CRM Online and many other apps that are integrated with Windows Azure AD," she wrote.
Active Authentication is also available for developers who are creating Azure-based apps, informed Fender. "Developers can also use the Active Authentication SDK to build multi-factor authentication into their custom applications and directories."