Microsoft users have had to struggle with separate authenticator apps for far too long, and on August 15th that’s set to change. The existing Microsoft account authenticator will combine into Azure Authenticator to create a new app.
Azure Authenticator will update to include the changes automatically, while Microsoft account users will be prompted to download the new version. Existing Azure accounts will be upgraded right away, so there will be no need for any extra steps.
Inventively named ‘Microsoft Authenticator,’ the app will come with a number of benefits:
“User experience refresh. We’ve made the app experience incredibly simple while maintaining the highest level of security.
Best in breed MFA experience through one-click push notifications. You only need to click the “approve” button in the notification to complete your login. (And in most cases, you won’t even need to open the app to complete the approval.)
Support for wearables. You can use an Apple Watch or Samsung Gear device to approve MFA challenges.
Finger prints instead of passcodes. We’ve added support finger print based approvals on both iPhone and Android.
Certificate based authentication. Support for enterprise customers to sign in through certificates instead of passwords.”
The addition of wearable and fingerprint support should make secure access to your Microsoft accounts even faster, and seems like a natural progression for the service. Microsoft is expecting to add similar improvements “at a very rapid pace.” With hope, the unified development will allow the team to dedicate more resources to making great additions.
The early announcement is unusual for Microsoft, and Director of Program Management, Alex Simmons, reveals why:
“A lot of largest enterprise customers need some time to plan for this, so we’re sharing the news early… If you are an enterprise customer, this is a great time to start updating your documentation to direct employees to the new app!”