Microsoft has added two-factor authentication to several versions of its Office 365 service, in order to provide extra security to users.
Microsoft said the service would be live from Monday and will be offered to Office 365 Midsize Business customers, and those with Enterprise plans, Academic plans and Nonprofit plans.
Standalone Office 365 plans, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, will also be covered, and the new features are offered without the need for any additional purchases or subscriptions.
Paul Andrew, technical product manager on the Office 365 team, wrote in a blog post that adding this feature was a key step in boosting security for users.
“Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password,” he said.
The system will work by requiring a secondary piece of information from the user, which will either be gathered via a phone call, text message or in-app notification.
Andrew also confirmed that the firm is working on bringing the same security measures to individual applications within Office 365.
“We’re planning to add native multi-factor authentication for applications such as Outlook, Lync, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PowerShell, and OneDrive for Business, with a release date planned for later in 2014,” he wrote.
Multi-factor authentication has been available for Office 365 admins since June 2013, but the wider rollout of this feature will no doubt be welcomed by the security community.
The importance of two-factor authentication has been demonstrated many times over the past year, after Twitter accounts were easily hacked as only a single password was required to gain access to an account.
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