Microsoft rolls out multi-factor authentication for Office 365

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Microsoft has extended multi-factor authentication or two-factor authentication to all subscribers of its Office 365 suite, as a part of its effort to enhance the security levels of Office 365.

The company also has plans to bring this security feature to other Office desktop applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Lync, Outlook and SkyDrive Pro, later this year.

Paul Andrew, technical product manager for Office 365, said “Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password.”

With the latest feature users will have to enter another authentication factor besides the basic password. The options available for authentication are –

  • Call my mobile: Users will have to acknowledge a phone call and press the pound key to login
  • Text code to my mobile phone: Users receive a text message with six-digit code that must be entered to login
  • Call my office phone: Users will have the option to choose a different phone, to answer a call
  • Notify me through app: Users receive a notification in their smartphone app to confirm login
  • Show one-time code in app: Instead of notification, the users use the six-digit code from app to login

Multi-factor authentication for Office 365 is available to Midsize Business, Enterprise, Academic, Nonprofit, and standalone plans, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.

In addition to this, the company is also adding App Passwords that allows the users to authenticate from Office desktop applications. Users, after logging in, can create one or more random generated 16 character passwords that can be used in Office client applications. But, App Passwords are not available for use with PowerShell access to Office 365.