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Microsoft Authenticator Client Access Improvements Arriving Next Month

Microsoft is unifying the code base used for its two client authentication solutions, with changes expected to show up next month.

Right now, there's a Microsoft account for consumer users and an Azure Active Directory authenticator solution for organizations. Microsoft plans to create a single code base for both types of clients with new "Microsoft Authenticator" applications, which will start showing up in mobile applications next month.

"On August 15th, we will start releasing the new 'Microsoft Authenticator' apps in all mobile app stores," Microsoft's announcement stated. "This new app combines the best parts of our previous authenticator apps into a new app which works with both Microsoft accounts and Azure AD accounts."

Although Aug. 15 will be the rollout date, Microsoft is giving advance notice because its "largest enterprise customers need some time," to plan for the change, Microsoft explained.

It's not clear how they can prepare, though. Microsoft Authenticator will appear as an update. Once established, Microsoft Authenticator apps will get automatically upgraded. In the case of Android users, though, users will get a message suggesting that they download the new application.

Microsoft Authenticator apps will have a number of benefits, including a simpler user experience, Microsoft promised. The improvements include:

  • Certificate-based authentication support, which dispenses with passwords
  • A quicker "approve" scenario for users to initiate multifactor authentication
  • Fingerprint authentication support for Android and iPhone devices, instead of using passcodes
  • Multifactor authentication challenge support on the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear wearable devices

Likely, the Aug. 15 release of Microsoft Authenticator apps will be at the preview stage for testing purposes. Microsoft's announcement didn't spell out what sort of release will be coming on that date.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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