New Major Update: Outlook to be updated with modern authentication logon experience, about time!

Outlook for Windows 2016 and later versions is updating to the modern authentication (auth) logon experience. And Microsoft will begin rolling this feature out early July 2019. The word to express this change is, “hallelujah!”

Enabling Modern Auth

Microsoft constantly improves the security of their Office 365 products and services and Modern Authentication is one of the best ways to ensure that clients take full advantage of these security features like multi-factor authentication (MFA). Up until now, all Office 365 programs have modern auth built in except for Outlook. Why it’s taken so many years to update Outlook to modern auth, nobody knows.

Consequently enabling Azure Auth (multi-factor authentication) has been far more complicated through creating lengthy web app passwords and having to train end-users on what this password is and when to use it! And it’s never an easy job because the password is just so long to remember and therefore you have to keep the password stored somewhere “safe”…hmmmm ????

All new Office 365 tenants created on or after 1st August 2017 have Modern Authentication enabled by default in Exchange Online for all clients except for Outlook! Finally Microsoft have decided to bring Outlook and its security in-line with their other Office programs by enabling Modern Authentication for the Windows Outlook client (and also Skype for Business client) in all managed (non-federated) tenants. Tenants already have Modern Authentication enabled for Outlook Mobile, Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the Web, so there will be no changes to any of those.

How does this impact end-users?

In a very positive way! At last! Users of the Outlook client will begin to see a new modern login prompt that they are very familiar with instead of the windows login dialog box. As well as a simplified, unified setup and roll-out of Azure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) aka 2FA/Two-Factor Authentication to protect Office 365 users and their accounts from cyber security compromise. A celebratory relief for IT Admins!

“This change is being implemented to improve the security of the service and to ensure consistency in the sign-in processes across all Microsoft Office products.”

This change affects the dialog users will see when requesting their Office 365 credentials.

The existing experience is (boring Windows security login popup!):

The new experience is (hoorah! The Office 365 sign-in popup that we’re all used to seeing!):

What should we do to prepare for this change?

Absolutely nothing! Microsoft will begin rolling out the new Modern Auth Outlook update in early July 2019 and have said that it will be complete by the end of August. There is nothing else needed to prepare for this change other than updating training documentation and end-users.

To quote Lt Cmdr Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Today is a good day to die…Qapla!”

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