Microsoft acquires security authentication provider

PhoneFactor, which provides telephone-based authentication for users in the business world, is now part of Microsoft. Terms weren't disclosed.

Microsoft's latest acquisition is PhoneFactor.
Microsoft's latest acquisition is PhoneFactor. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft announced today that it has bought PhoneFactor, a provider of multi-factor authentication.

PhoneFactor offers organizations different ways for their employees to access key software and services without relying just on passwords or security tokens. The company's specialty is phone authentication, but it also provides authentication through text messages.

Timothy Sutton, PhoneFactor CEO, described the concept in a blog, saying that "when we initially launched PhoneFactor, we had a vision to deliver strong authentication as a seamless part of almost every process where an individual needs to access confidential or proprietary data." He added that "phones provided the ideal platform."

PhoneFactor's product already works with different Microsoft services, including Outlook Web Access and Internet Information Services, as well as Active Directory.

"The acquisition of PhoneFactor will help Microsoft bring effective and easy-to-use multifactor authentication to our cloud services and on-premises applications," Bharat Shah, corporate vice president of Microsoft's server and tools division, said in a statement. "In addition, PhoneFactor's solutions will help Microsoft customers, partners, and developers enhance the security of almost any authentication scenario."

PhoneFactor posted a FAQ with details on how the Microsoft purchase will affect its existing customers.

Neither company disclosed terms of the deal.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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