We have seen more and more online services offer two-factor authentication options for better security in the past year. It has been added to Twitter, Microsoft Accounts, Apple ID and more. This week, Microsoft announced that customers of its cloud-based Windows Azure service can now add multi-factor authentication options.
Yes, we said "multi-factor." In a post on the Windows Azure blog, Microsoft touts three different ways for customers to sign into their accounts besides the normal user name and password. One is using an app on their mobile device, while another is getting a text message with a pass code. Finally, there's the good old-fashioned automated voice call. Microsoft claims that customers can turn on this new feature in less than five minutes. However, it will require an additional monthly fee; $2 per user per month or $2 for 10 authentications.
In a separate blog post, Microsoft VP Scott Guthrie reveals some more updates for Windows Azure. They include a new memory-intensive instance option called A5 that uses just two CPU cores and just 16GB of RAM. Customers can now also run virtual machines with Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic Server, and Java Platform SE in Windows Azure as part of Microsoft's new partnership with Oracle.