Microsoft buys multifactor authentication vendor PhoneFactor

Microsoft has bought multi-factor authentication specialist PhoneFactor with the goal of integrating the company’s technology into its cloud services and on-premises applications.

PhoneFactor, based in Overland Park, Kansas, sells phone-based multi-factor authentication products for enterprises. Its technology was designed to work with both Microsoft enterprise products and with platforms from other vendors.

“Following this acquisition, Microsoft plans to further integrate PhoneFactor’s technology into its Active Directory, Windows Azure Active Directory and Office 365 products,” Bharat Shah, corporate vice president with Microsoft’s Server and Tools division, said Thursday in a blog post.

For the time being PhoneFactor will continue to sell its products as a standalone service with existing pricing and contracts. However, in the future, the company’s products will be transitioned to Microsoft’s Volume Licensing contracts.

Existing PhoneFactor customers will continue to be supported and the company will remain open for business, PhoneFactor’s CEO Timothy Sutton said in a blog post.

PhoneFactor’s technology will also continue to work with non-Microsoft products and the company’s existing partners will be able to continue to resell its products, according to a FAQ page on the company’s website.

The use of multi-factor authentication for access to enterprise services and applications can prevent data breaches if user passwords are compromised.

This is because multi-factor authentication requires users to combine something they know, like their passwords, with something they own, like a special hardware device. With PhoneFactor’s technology that device is the user’s mobile phone or tablet.