Microsoft protects Cloud with directory-integrated two-factor authentication

Active Authentication uses phones to improve security for hosted apps

Microsoft is upping the security on Azure with Active Authentication, a new service now in preview which allows enterprises to secure access to hosted applications such as Office 365 with two-factor authentication.

Active Authentication enables two-factor authentication for users stored on the Azure-based version Active Directory, and helps secure access to Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, Dynamics CRM Online as well as other apps that are integrated with the hosted directory service.

Developers can also use the Active Authentication development kit to build two-factor authentication into their custom applications and directories.

Active Authentication works by adding an extra step to the sign in process. After an employee, partner, or customer has entered their username and password, they are required to also authenticate with the Active Authentication app on their smartphone or via an automated phone call or text message.

More advanced authentication has become a hot topic during recent months thanks to high profile security breaches, like the theft of passwords that allowed hackers to get access to the Associated Press' Twitter account. The extra step reduces the risk of a breach, according to Microsoft.

Like many hosted services, Microsoft pitches Active Authentication as easy to set up and manage, as well as very scalable. IT staff can activate the service by adding it to their Azure Active Directory tenant and turn it on for users.

Active Authentication is based on Microsoft's acquisition of PhoneFactor, a deal announced last October.

During the preview, the service will cost US$1.00 per user and month or $1.00 for every 10 authentications. The prices represent a 50 percent discount off Microsoft's anticipated prices when Active Authentication becomes generally available.

Send news tips and comments to

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftsecurityAccess control and authenticationcloud computinginternet

More about Microsoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Mikael Ricknäs

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place