Microsoft Makes Office 365 Cloud Secure With Multi-Factor Authentication

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Microsoft has finally given users some peace of mind by introducing optional multi-factor authentication in Office 365. In the same announcement, the company said the feature will arrive in Office 2013 this year. The feature is a no-cost “update” and covers all Office 365 variants and subscriptions — Office 365 to Office 365 Midsize Business, Enterprise plans, Academic plans, Nonprofit plans, and standalone Office 365 plans.

Multi-factor authentication adds another layer of security to the login by requiring a second validation after the initial password. It establishes the user is genuine with a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after the correct password is entered.

Two-factor authentication

With Microsoft’s renewed attention on cloud services, enhanced security measures are paramount for everyday users and high-demand business users. Here’s the gist of how to configure multi-factor authentication. The step-by-step instructions can be found on the linked source blog.

  • Office 365 administrators will need to sign-into the Office 365 Admin Panel and enroll users for multi-factor authentication.
  • The multi-factor authentication page lists the users with user names and their status.
  • The user signs in and is prompted to set up their second authentication factor (phone call, text message, app notification, or one-time code).
  • Smartphone apps are available for Windows Phone, iPhone, and Android devices for uses who opt for the app notifications or one-time code.

Office 365 users enrolled for multi-factor authentication have the facility of using App Passwords in the Office Desktop applications. It is more secure than the usual user password and is a stand-in security measure until the desktop apps also get two-factor authentication. An App Password is a 16-character randomly-generated password that can be used with an Office client application as a way of increasing security in lieu of the second authentication factor. You can use the same password with multiple desktop apps or create a password for specific apps.

Are you an Office 365 user? Does this security measure ease some of your worries?

Source: Office Blog

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