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05 October 2012, 12:22

Microsoft buys PhoneFactor

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PhoneFactor logo Microsoft has acquired multi-factor authentication provider PhoneFactor to increase the variety of authentication options that are available to its cloud customers and applications. PhoneFactor offers multi-factor authentication processes using mobile devices and apps, which are designed to improve the security standards for log-in procedures.

The name PhoneFactor describes the service's major design feature: mobile devices are the main authentication platform and, despite creating multi-stage log-in procedure, they are designed to avoid having a negative affect on the user friendliness of the process. In a typical example of use, PhoneFactor will add another step to what appears to be single factor authentication so that when users log in with their user name and password, access is only granted once a code sent via SMS by PhoneFactor is appended to the password. PhoneFactor has expanded its range of options to include voice-based calls and smartphone apps as part of the authentication system.

PhoneFactor already works with Microsoft products such as Outlook Web Access and Internet Information Services, and it also interoperates with Active Directory. Microsoft plans to push PhoneFactor integration into Office 365 and Azure's Active Directory in the future. Despite the take-over by Microsoft, products will apparently continue to be available to other companies in the market.

PhoneFactor has around 50 employees and was established in 2001. The company was bought for an undisclosed sum.


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