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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?