Introducing Multi-Factor Authentication on Windows Azure

Editor’s Note: This post comes from Sarah Fender — Director, Windows Azure.

Over the last few months we’ve been sharing more insight into what’s in it for the enterprise when it comes to using Windows Azure.  Today we’re announcing a new service code named Active Authentication, which will allow enterprises to secure employee, partner, and customer access to cloud applications with multi-factor authentication. 

Starting today, companies can enable multi-factor authentication for Windows Azure Active Directory identities to help secure access to Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, Dynamics CRM Online and many other apps that are integrated with Windows Azure AD.  Developers can also use the Active Authentication SDK to build multi-factor authentication into their custom applications and directories.  

Active Authentication works by adding an extra step to the sign in process. After a user enters their username and password, they are required to also authenticate with the Active Authentication app on their mobile device or via an automated phone call or text message.  This helps prevent unauthorized access to data and applications in the cloud – reducing the risk of a breach and enabling regulatory compliance.

Active Authentication, is built on the industry-leading PhoneFactor service which Microsoft acquired last fall. It offers the strong security your company requires, yet is super easy to set up, manage and use. The service offers:

  • Rapid Set Up: Simply add the service to your Windows Azure AD tenant and turn it on for your users. Or, add the service to your custom applications using just a few lines of code.
  • Automated Enrollment: Windows Azure AD users enroll their own phone numbers and set authentication preferences during the standard sign in process. There are no tokens to provision and ship, so you can quickly enable the service for users around the globe.
  • Scalable: The reliable, scalable service supports high-volume, mission critical applications and large-scale employee, partner, and customer deployments.

Flexible billing options allow you to choose the approach that offers the best value based on your planned use. These include:

  • Per user, per month: Pay by the number of users you enable for multi-factor authentication each month.
  • Per authentication: Pay by total number of authentications used each month.

During the preview, the price for the active authentication is $1.00 per user per month or $1.00 for every 10 authentications depending. These prices represent a 50% discount off our anticipated prices at GA.  For more information see the Pricing page.

For more Technical Information on How to Get started jump over to the Windows Azure Active Directory Blog.  Ready to go, Sign up for Free Trial.