Earlier this year, Microsoft hosted their annual Ignite event, introducing, demonstrating, and reflecting on Microsoft’s exciting and growing technology. From new Azure AI capabilities to rollouts for various updates and improvements to current Microsoft technology, there was a lot to be learned and acknowledged from this year’s event. Microsoft’s book of news is an excellent source for updates on the many Microsoft products and latest advancements. In this blog, we focus on specific advances within the world of digital identity that our customers and readers will find helpful.
What’s new with Microsoft Azure Active Directory?
This year, Microsoft announced the general availability of passwordless authentication for organisations. Passwordless authentication can now be deployed for large scale systems, with the capabilities to have policies that determine authentication methods certain users can use. One of Microsoft’s latest developments, Temporary Access Pass, has been brought into preview, contributing to a seamless and secure user journey, with users receiving a time-limited code for recovering and setting up a password credential. This feature helps to eliminate the need for passwords throughout a whole user onboarding process.
With Azure AD Conditional Access, multifactor authentication is no longer required every time an application containing sensitive data is accessed. Alternatively, authentication steps can be put into place depending on the data that the user is trying to access. Microsoft is taking this a step further with the announcement of Azure AD Conditional Access authentication context coming into preview. Authentication security steps can vary depending on the type of data, as oppose to the same high-level security across a whole application. This feature simplifies the individual user experience by associating the appropriate authentication requests for users with the relevant access rights.
To explore passwordless authentication even further, read our article in which we discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
The future of Identity is here: Verifiable Credentials on Azure AD!
Joy Chik, Microsoft Identity Corporate Vice President, shined a light on the future of digital identity announcing the newest and exciting development coming into preview, Azure AD Verifiable Credentials. This Microsoft decentralized identity development allows people to be in complete control of their identity credentials. Organisations can request specific information from a user and only obtain data as permitted by the user, giving users full control of their credentials, how they’re shared and stored. The entire process is fast, secure, and hassle–free. Information is passed between the user and the organisation and verified by a trusted third party in a matter of minutes, with the user maintaining full control over their data. Users can store their credentials can be stored in Microsoft’s Authenticator wallet.
We’re incredibly excited about this advancement in Azure AD and how far we’ve seen Azure come since we first integrated Azure AD B2C in the UK for our customer, Nuffield Health. We’re also incredibly honoured to be recognised and named by our partners at Microsoft as one of three trusted global partners for implementing decentralized identity. Our decentralized identity stack simplifies the whole issuer, verifier, and holder process. Combining with Microsoft, our decentralized identity middleware solution offers organisations and wallet holders a seamlessly secure experience.
There is so much to look forward to this year, with passwordless authentication and verifiable credentials paving the way for what is next for the future. Microsoft’s announcements show an improved focus on security and protecting customer data. For Businesses, verifiable credentials drastically reduce risk and promote faster verification journeys between users, third parties, and organisations.