Microsoft has announced that they are buying PhoneFactor, a purchase aimed squarely at bolstering the companies enterprise authentication offerings.
The service is designed to allow folks to use their mobile devices as a way to authenticate against key Microsoft services such as Active Directory, Azure and Office 365.
The unstoppable rise of adoption in smartphone uptake means that pretty soon most of us will have a computer in our pocket. With that in mind the company has produced a product to allow for critical multi factor authentication to take place on the phone. At present many companies use security fobs/tokens which often times get lost stolen of just break, they also are not cheap or easy to replace.
The idea here is that the authentication system is simply an app on a device to enable the same functionality without all the hassle. As we move ever closer to heavy reliance on cloud based services its quite easy to see why Microsoft would be interested in making such a purchase.
Many of us are struggling with 100’s of online passwords and simply having a multi factor authentication with a unique device could ease many security concerns. The press release doesn't’t mention Windows Phone or even consumer use but it’s almost inconceivable that Microsoft wont want to push this down the chain to normal users, especially if they want to keep their cloud services air tight. Now that MS own such a service we're sure to see apps created for Windows Phone 8, being as MS are keen to fill that number three niche that Blackberry is fast vacating, bolstering these types of services is now essential.