Blame it on the rain: It’s the cloud, not the 2FA

Users of Windows Office 360 and the Azure Cloud got a rude reminder of what the cloud really is:

It’s someone else’s computer.

And when that computer or program has an issue … well, the rain falls on a lot of people.

Unfortunately, this time it seems to have hit not just “other people,” but it hit the “other, careful people” – the people that use multi-factor or 2FA authentication in their online lives.

According to The Register, this problem for the Azure Active Directory has been ongoing since 4:39 UTC Monday with certain groups of users in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific having issues signing in to Azure or their Microsoft when using 2FA.

While some of these careful people are probably saying rude things , multi-factor or two-factor authentication (2FA) is a really good thing. It helps prevent someone from bluffing their way into your accounts with a single guess at your password. But at times like this – when connected to the outage of a cloud service – that the downtime is increased enormously. You could call it an inefficiency of scale.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

While Microsoft stated in its Office 365 service health status report that this was a coding issue with the 2FA, it’s the cloud connection that has really made this into a more widespread issue. It is just a little ironic that this issue hits the careful ones. While this episode is frustrating and expensive for some, at least they can be drinking their coffee securely as the event unfolds. 2FA – multi-factor authentication or MFA in the Microsoft terminology — isn’t going away. In fact, it should be used by everyone when possible, starting out with those everyday Google or Facebook accounts.  And don’t forget to use it with your My Avira Account via the control panel.

As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he’s known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.