Microsoft buys multi-factor authentication vendor PhoneFactor

Microsoft plans to integrate PhoneFactor's technology into its cloud services and on-premises applications

Microsoft has bought multi-factor authentication specialist PhoneFactor with the goal of integrating the company's technology into its cloud services and on-premises applications.

PhoneFactor, based in Overland Park, Kansas, sells phone-based multi-factor authentication products for enterprises. Its technology was designed to work with both Microsoft enterprise products and with platforms from other vendors.

"Following this acquisition, Microsoft plans to further integrate PhoneFactor's technology into its Active Directory, Windows Azure Active Directory and Office 365 products," Bharat Shah, corporate vice president with Microsoft's Server and Tools division, said Thursday in a blog post.

For the time being PhoneFactor will continue to sell its products as a standalone service with existing pricing and contracts. However, in the future, the company's products will be transitioned to Microsoft's Volume Licensing contracts.

Existing PhoneFactor customers will continue to be supported and the company will remain open for business, PhoneFactor's CEO Timothy Sutton said in a blog post.

PhoneFactor's technology will also continue to work with non-Microsoft products and the company's existing partners will be able to continue to resell its products, according to a FAQ page on the company's website.

The use of multi-factor authentication for access to enterprise services and applications can prevent data breaches if user passwords are compromised.

This is because multi-factor authentication requires users to combine something they know, like their passwords, with something they own, like a special hardware device. With PhoneFactor's technology that device is the user's mobile phone or tablet.

The company offers three methods of phone-based authentication: calling users and waiting for them to answer and press the "#" key; texting users a passcode and waiting for them to send it back via SMS; or pushing an authentication request to an app installed on the users' phone and waiting for them to hit the "Authenticate" button.

Optionally the company also offers the possibility of using voiceprints in order to verify that the phone is actually in the user's possession. When this option enabled, the user also needs to speak a short phrase when called during the authentication process.

In recent years multi-factor authentication has been implemented into many online services. Google, Facebook, Yahoo Mail, LastPass and Dropbox are just some of the websites that offer it as an option for increased account security.

Microsoft has not adopted the technology for its new Outlook.com webmail service yet, but it requires it by default on billing.microsoft.com or xbox.com when users buy points.

Microsoft didn't disclose financial details of the deal.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?