Microsoft has announced the general availability of Windows Azure multi-factor authentication for IT pros and users. The new security capability is available for most any application used on the cloud infrastructure.
The security means that a person signs in with their usual user name and password but then authenticates either through an application on their mobile device, an automated voice call or text message with a passcode.
Windows Azure multi-factor authentication is available with on-premise virtual private networks and web applications for running on a company’s existing hardware or in a Windows Azure virtual machine. It can be synchronized with Windows Server Active Directory for automated user set up. Cloud applications like Windows Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM can also be secured by two-factor authentication as can custom applications. It is available in two pricing options: $2 per user per month or $2 for 10 authentications.
Two-factor authentication is all the rage these days. Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Engine offer it and you can expect a wave of announcements from other providers ove the next several months.
But it’s really just a small aspect of what cloud services need to do. Security at the virtual machine level, where apps are located, can get attacked if the administrator falls victim to a malware attack. And that’s a user management issue as much as two-factor authentication. That’s where companies like JumpCloud enter the picture. Look to providers like them to provide the next generation of security to protect cloud services.