Microsoft Exchange Online Security is a deep concern of today. Theirs is not a single internet-enable device that can be compromised on security. Same goes with Microsoft Products. Today, it’s about Exchange Online Protection and what Microsoft is planning to enhance Exchange Online Security.
Users have been using Basic Authentication while making connections with services, servers and endpoints for a long time. In this type of authentication method, the application simply sends user name and password with each request. This has been a simple solution, which was good in old days but due to the rise in cyber-attacks methods, something more secure was needed to improve the user experience of Exchange Online.
The Recent changes
For Exchange Web Services, this Basic authentication method is going off from October 2020 for better Exchange Online security. To phase out old authentication methods, Microsoft is turning off Basic Authentication for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), POP, IMAP and Remote PowerShell on the same date as well. However, SMTP Auth will continue to support Basic Authentication.
Modern Authentication is now based on OAuth 2.0 token based Auth that is not only reliable but also mitigates problems of current authentication methods. It incorporates Multi factor authentication for a better secure experience. In Modern Authentication method, OAuth Access tokens have a limited lifetime. These tokens are limited to applications and resources and can’t be reused. This increases Exchange Online Protection for its users.
Impact on users
With every change related to security, the end-users become more secure, however, organizations offering Exchange Online have to look for a few things and work upon them in time. Remote PowerShell should be switched with PowerShell within Azure Cloud Shell until more secure MFA module is provided for RPS. For tenant admins, a tool would be available soon that determines who is using Basic Auth in the tenant. This makes it easier to discover how large the task to shift the user to Modern Auth methods is. POP and IMAP are also going to be modified and OAuth will be added to these protocols soon.
For Exchange Active sync, a better secured approach towards Exchange Online Security is to opt for Outlook Mobile. It undoubtedly integrates Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and MAM protection for a secured corporate data and user data. Outlook mobile supports Modern Auth by default.
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