March 31, 2020

Protection with Office 365 Authentication

Small Business
By: Ronald B. Allen

Like many small business owners, you have opted to move your business data offsite to “the cloud.” You like that you do not need to continually upgrade your data storage capacity. And, you like it even better that you and your staff can work and communicate from any place that has an internet connection. You have used Microsoft Office for years and are considering an upgrade to Office 365 in order to better integrate your work processes with a cloud-based system and to better protect your data. Now, one of the questions you ask yourself is or that you should be asking is, how do I protect my small business information with Office 365 multifactorial authentication?

How Does Office 365 Outlook MFA (multi-factor authentication) Work?

The point of this feature is to access your data securely from anywhere with an internet connection. Multi-factor authentication lets you do this safely when you are working outside of your own business network. How does this work?

The first “factors” needed to connect to your business network or directly to data in the cloud are your username and password. This is the information that the hacker in North Korea, Ukraine, or downtown Moscow can steal. The second factor is the device from which you are connecting to the internet. The nasty person who steals your password does not have your smartphone, office phone, desktop computer, or laptop computer!

Free with Your Office 365 Subscription

Multi-factor authentication is part of Azure, another Microsoft product. Office 365 subscribers can use this great tool without any extra license. You only need a license for Azure AD Premium if you want some of the more advanced features of that product.

Three Steps on How to Use MFA

#1 There is a Microsoft Authenticator app which will provide a one-time password, also known as an OTP or push notification. It can be used as a software token that gives you the OTP or as a push-notification hub which receives notification from a central service for multi-factor authentication.

#2  Simply get a phone call sent to your phone number (which is registered). Get the call on your office phone or mobile device and confirm your identity by simply pressing the pound sign (#).

#3 A text message is sent to your registered phone number. Then enter the one-time password on the computer or smartphone screen at which you are working.

The system administration (Office 365 global admin) will see these options.

• Call to Phone

• Text Message to Phone

• Notification through Mobile App

• Verification code from Mobile App

When the user sets this up, they can pick both a default option and a secondary option.

And, you will need to create a password to use with your registered device. This is the key to protecting your information from hackers.

The beauty of multi-factor authentication is that you can:

• Work from anywhere

• Have you data secured off site

• And, be assured that no one is going to steal all of your information if they come into possession of a username and password

For administrators and users who wish to set up Office 365 Multi-factor Authentication, watch the video.

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