A new entry into Microsoft’s roadmap (opens in new tab) has revealed that the company is working on enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) requests directly in the Outlook app for certain users.
The feature, which Microsoft is calling Authenticator Lite, is designed to allow business and education users to access one-time passcodes without the need for an additional authenticator app.
Up until now, Microsoft 365 account holders have had to make do with a separate app, SMS or phone call codes, or a physical key, but in an effort to streamline its approach to security the tech giant looks to be integrating this important cybersecurity feature into an app that many of its customers will already have installed on their devices.
Outlook app authenticator
“Authenticator Lite (in Outlook) is a feature that allows your users to complete multi-factor authentication (MFA) for their work or school account using the Outlook app on their iOS or Android device,” the product entry reads.
The clear focus on smartphones and tablets risks neglecting PC users. Unless they have access to a universal clipboard, physically typing out the time-sensitive code will remain a labor of dedication to one’s account security. That, or using a third-party authenticator already available for computers.
It’s unclear whether Microsoft has plans to roll out the feature more widely to support more operating systems and hardware types.
For now, it remains in development according to the roadmap, which also says that the preview and general availability are set for this month – March 2023.
While Microsoft already operates an Authenticator app on both mobile platforms, the company has been doing some tidying up recently as it sweeps up some of the mess left behind from the transition to Microsoft 365 (from Office 365). Its long-term intentions are unclear, however it’s reasonable to suspect that Microsoft may build authentication into its existing products, eliminating the need for a dedicated app.