Multifactor authentication available on Windows Azure

Microsoft is pricing the service at US$2 per month per user for unlimited authentications

Microsoft has announced the general availability of multifactor authentication on its Windows Azure cloud platform.

Besides using a user name and password, users can authenticate through an application on their mobile device, automated voice call, or a text message with a passcode, Microsoft said Thursday.

Windows Azure multifactor authentication can be used for applications that require additional security, including on-premises VPNs and Web applications. Users have to run the multifactor authentication server on existing hardware or in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. Users can synchronize with their Windows Server Active Directory for automated user set up.

The authentication can also be used for cloud applications like Windows Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM. Users have to enable multifactor authentication for Windows Azure AD identities "with the flip of a switch," and will be prompted to set up multifactor the next time they sign-in, Microsoft said. Users can also use the Azure SDK (software development kit) to build multifactor authentication phone call and text message authentication into their application's sign-in or transaction processes.

Competitor Amazon Web Services already offers multifactor authentication free to its users for use with their AWS account. Customers are however charged if they use a physical authentication device that will need to be purchased from Gemalto.

The Microsoft service on Azure is charged at two pricing options: US$2 per user per month for unlimited authentications or $2 for 10 authentications. A promotional offer cuts the price by half until Oct. 31.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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