As someone who uses computers, you might have come across 2-factor authentication also known as 2FA. The general idea behind it is something other than your password which can identify the person accessing the account as the owner.
It is an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals and quite frankly it is becoming a need rather than a want. This is one reason why Microsoft will begin to make this compulsory on their products such as Office 365, emails and Azure.
What is 2 Factor Authentication?
As we touched on before, it is an extra layer of security which comes after the password. Also called Multifactor Authentication, you may have seen it before as some companies are making it compulsory to have. Within the gaming industry, some companies such as Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Call of Duty) actually penalize you for not having it on your account. If a Blizzard account does not have 2FA they will only recover the account once after it has been compromised. If not rectified by putting 2FA in place Blizzard will not recover the account. Whereas, other companies in the industry such as ArenaNet will give you a free in-game gift for you.
2 Factor Authentication comes in a few different variations. The most common version would be a text message sent to your phone with something such as a six-digit number you need to access your account. Other versions include a phone call, an email or even using an authentication tool (Either made by the website or an app on your phone).
Of course, using 2-factor authentication can take time every time you log in. You then must enter in a second passphrase after the password. There is also the problem if you were to lose your phone meaning you would need to call your CSP. Apart from those two slight drawbacks, the benefits of 2FA are far greater. No longer is just adding a password to your accounts a viable means of protecting your data. We are way past that. Truthfully cyber criminals have evolved methods to bypass this. In a work environment, one weak password could lead to devastation, and let’s face it someone in your company will have a weak password. Adding 2FA to all accounts prevents this.
Usually, people come to CSPs such as ourselves to purchase Microsoft products (Azure, 365 office) because we sell it at a better price or equal to Microsoft but then you get added support from purchasing it from us. Purchasing through a CSP also allows you more freedom to admin privileges. Usually, we would be able to enable or disable 2FA.
The move comes from a huge rise in Phishing Scams and Malware attacks targeting businesses.
“This includes enforcing multi-factor authentication for all users in the partner tenants. Adopting a secure application model for their API integration with Microsoft. We have notified partners of these changes and enforcement will roll out over the next several months”