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Skype for Business Phones Switching to OAuth 2.0 in July

OAuth 2.0 authentication will be coming to Skype for Business phones, and that change will require IT pros to make some changes by July 1, 2019.

If the changes aren't made by that date, then Skype for Business phones won't authenticate to Microsoft's services. That's the gist of Microsoft's announcement last week. OAuth 2.0 is an authorization protocol developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force. It's used for "web applications, desktop applications, mobile phones, and living room devices," according to this definition

Complying with Microsoft's switch to using the OAuth 2.0 protocol with Skype for Business phones will require applying a firmware update to those phones and providing organizational consent. Microsoft's phone hardware partners, such as AudioCodes, Crestron, Polycom and Yealink, are currently finalizing the new OAuth 2.0 firmware updates for Skype for Business phones.

IT pros will have two tasks before the July deadline. They'll have to apply the firmware updates, when available, to Skype for Business phones. Next, they'll have to agree to the conditions of using the new firmware via a so-called "consent URL," which gets offered by the phone vendor. Opting into the consent happens just once per phone vendor. It's not a matter of providing consent for each phone.

The OAuth 2.0 change will only be happening for "Skype for Business IP Phones certified under Microsoft's 3PIP [Third-Party Interoperability] program," Microsoft's announcement explained. Only phones used with the Skype for Business Online service, as well as phones used in hybrid setups with "Modern Authentication," will be required to switch to OAuth 2.0.

Microsoft's announcement was a bit terse. However, this blog post by Tom Arbuthnot, a Microsoft MVP centered on Microsoft unified communications solutions, offered a very good translation for IT pros.

According to Arbuthnot, currently no phone vendors have produced firmware with the new OAuth 2.0-based ID that's required by Microsoft. He promised to list those vendors when they've released their firmware updates, though. He also suggested that Microsoft would be providing notifications of the coming changes via its Office 365 Message Center portal.

About the Author

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

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