Cloud security is a big deal and a huge topic on everyone’s mind as more and more businesses move to the cloud. Although Azure is the most secure and compliant public cloud on the market, many customers that I work with are still concerned about security.
One big change in public clouds is the shift to identity-based security. The thinking here is if I trust an identity provider to validate who you are, I can then authorize you to use resources, like data and applications, in my environment.
Consumer applications have been using Facebook, Google and Microsoft identity providers to authenticate users for years. However, businesses often are requiring more trusted resources, and a Facebook account is probably not good enough for things like privately held data.
This is where multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes in and can play a significant role in security. MFA requires users to validate who they are beyond the identity provider and is typically password based. When a user’s identity is validated with a password, a secondary method is implemented to further validate the user.
Multi-factor authentication is built into Azure and can use texts, phone calls and apps as an additional action using a trusted device or contact method to verify identity. Microsoft has an app called Authenticator, for instance, that will send a notice to you about the log in attempt. Then you must take action to accept the log in to validate who you are and your identity within the application. Only then will you get the access you want within the resource, like Office 365 for example.
This can also be done using codes via text or phone call, which is often used these days in the consumer world with banks. Businesses today will often implement a third-party tool for MFA in their environment. We work with customers today who are using tools like Octa and Duo which have Azure implementation to support MFA within the Azure environment, commonly using Azure Active Directory.
So, the Azure platform continues to enable more flexibility and options for customers to bring their existing tools providing they support Azure as well. If you’re concerned about cloud security, MFA is a key component to confirming identities and making the cloud more secure for your business.
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