Though Microsoft’s mobile platforms (Windows 8 and Windows Phone) seem to be struggling but that hasn’t deterred the Redmond giant from making a fortune out of its mobile ambitions. Whether it’s repeatedly exposing cracks in Google’s patent armor or making the most of Apple-Google rivalry, many believe Microsoft is now riding the ‘perfect wave‘.
In recent times, Microsoft has hinted that it’s well prepared to the embrace BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement. We at TheTelecomBlog have made an honest attempt at uncovering the various aspects of BYOD in an unbiased manner. While there’s little doubt that corporate security is of paramount importance, questions continue to be asked if the BYOD security debate has stretched too far and lost relevance?
Whatever the case maybe, Microsoft is in no mood to take any chances with BYOD security. To that effect, the Windows giant last month scooped up PhoneFactor, a multifactor authentication (MFA) solutions company.
With PhoneFactor in the bag, Microsoft would be hoping to make the most of the BYOD onslaught by carving out a niche for itself in the mobile enterprise security space.
PhoneFactor, founded in 2001 by two former Sprint employees, provides phone-based two-factor authentication solutions, which involve proof of identity beyond the standard username and password combination. The company already works with many Microsoft products and services, including Outlook Web Access and Internet Information Services, and interoperates with Active Directory.
“We look forward to bringing our secure, cost-effective and convenient authentication solutions to the millions of Microsoft customers, partners and developers around the world,” said Timothy Sutton, CEO and co-founder of PhoneFactor.
“PhoneFactor is popular because its solutions interoperate well with Active Directory so users don’t have to learn new passwords and IT administrators and application developers can use infrastructure and services they already know. Also, perhaps most importantly, PhoneFactor is popular because it conveniently relies on a device that most users already have with them – their phone,” Microsoft wrote on its Azure Blog. “As we bring PhoneFactor onboard, we will drive further integration with key Microsoft technologies like Active Directory, Windows Azure Active Directory and Office 365, making it even easier for customers to protect their on-premises and cloud assets.”
PhoneFactor Agent is currently available as a free download for up to 25 users. Multi-factor authentication has gained acceptance in business and enterprise environments, where data integrity and security are critical. The process involves generating a random security token on the fly and delivering to the end user using a call, text or a push notification. It will be interesting to see how quickly Microsoft can leverage the PhoneFactor acquisition for the benefit of millions of Microsoft customers, partners and developers around the world.
The PhoneFactor team confirmed that it will continue to support existing customers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.