MFA is essential for account protection, period. It’s not perfect, as there are ways around it with malware and session tokens, but it is the easiest way to add a significant amount of security to your accounts – 99.9% according to Microsoft.
That security comes with a little bit of inconvenience though. You need to authenticate yourself each time you log in to your account. There are a handful of ways to do this, be it by email, SMS message, application, or USB key. Of all the choices, authenticator apps are the easiest to implement and have great security. Microsoft has its own app, but you can use another of your choosing.
Still, there are some that are reluctant to turn on MFA because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by needing to authenticate with an app. Now Microsoft has a solution for them as well. It’s called Authenticator Lite.
Microsoft Authenticator Lite is something that can be set up on M365 Business accounts, and build its MFA directly into the mobile Outlook App. No longer does Outlook need a separate authentication, it can do so right in the Outlook app itself utilizing a number matching authentication.
Number matching is a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) where a number is pushed to the device and the user enters it in the application. The below screenshots are what Authenticator Lite looks like in action.
This feature is available in the iOS and Android versions of the Outlook App, and is geared towards removing MFA resistance for mobile users. To get an idea of the MFA adoption rate, the Android Outlook app has over 500 million downloads whereas the MS Authenticator App only has 50 million. While that isn’t a concrete statistic, we can get a rough estimate that a mere 10% of Outlook users are using MFA. That’s a tiny percentage.
Hopefully, this feature will open the doors to people accepting MFA as a required security measure.
There’s still no news if Authenticator Lite will be rolling out to PC applications or Personal M365 accounts, but we’ll be on the lookout if they announce it.