Windows Azure adds multi-factor authentication option for customers

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.

Source: Microsoft

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12 Comments

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knighthawk said,
"However, it will require an additional monthly fee; $2 per user per month or $2 for 10 authentications."
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rip off
They are providing multi-factor authentication as a service. It includes a voice call, app, or text message. $2 is for unlimited authentications. That's a solid price. Your alternative is to setup your own system which is not cheap to get off the ground. A really cool service, frankly.

knighthawk said,
"However, it will require an additional monthly fee; $2 per user per month or $2 for 10 authentications

Desperatesoft!

Shadowzz said,
They offered the same multi-factor authentication for other services, voice call, text message etc.... for free.
That's for their services... this is allowing people to leverage 2 form authentication for their own corporate stuff through their AD Services. Essentially they built the tech to run on MS Services and now they let you leverage that tech for your own on-prem or cloud services powered by your AD. This is all about integrating with *your* active directory.

MrHumpty said,
That's for their services... this is allowing people to leverage 2 form authentication for their own corporate stuff through their AD Services. Essentially they built the tech to run on MS Services and now they let you leverage that tech for your own on-prem or cloud services powered by your AD. This is all about integrating with *your* active directory.

Exactly, it seems that some didn't understand what this was from the start or didn't read it right.

knighthawk said,
More then a penny or at max two per auth seems excessive.
I'm sure, to come up with that number, you've analyzed the costs of making phone calls, text messages or operating the servers to handle the app requests. Not to mention capitalizing the purchase of the hardware for the increased capacity needs or the engineering efforts required to develop the software to handle the type of load that could be generated.

I'm sure they pulled the 20 cent per auth out of a hat.

To some extent yes. But even better as a customer I know what said feature is worth to me (me really being the organizations I deal with) and it's nowhere near their 20cents per auth figure which almost entirely profit for them.

knighthawk said,
To some extent yes. But even better as a customer I know what said feature is worth to me (me really being the organizations I deal with) and it's nowhere near their 20cents per auth figure which almost entirely profit for them.
Then don't purchase it. And 20 cents per auth is only if you pay per authorization. Per user the cost per auth is much lower, if you auth once per day per user that's already to 6 cents which 30 per month is probably low if you really need the service. But hey, you're the decision maker for your org and you have totally ran the numbers already.

Point being, a) nobody's offering this service b) if nobody buys it they may lower their price. My guess is it will be implemented enough to warrant the price. I certainly don't need it but for those for which this provides value $2/m/u is peanuts.