Microsoft quietly rolled out this week a cumulative update for its Lync 2013 client that includes support for two-factor authentication.
Believe it or not, Lync client didn't have two-factor authentication support before now. And after this week's rollout, the Microsoft Lync client is the only client for Lync that does offer two-factor authentication, a company spokesperson told me. (There were some tools in place for managing Lync Security and authentication before now, but not two-factor authentication in the client, the spokesperson added.)
Lync is Microsoft's unfied messaging product. It includes business instant-messaging, presence, VOIP and online meeting functionality and is the business complement to Skype.
In April 2013, Microsoft announced it would be making available. This included Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Office and more, officials said. Two-step verification is, basically, two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication is aimed at reducing the likelihood of online identity theft, phishing and other scams because the victim's password would no longer be enough to give a thief access to their information. Apple, PayPal, Google, Facebook and other vendors already have implemented two-factor authentication.
Back to Lync. Users need the July cumulative update for Lync Server 2013 to enable the two-factor authentication and other client feature enhancements, which include embedded images, meetings view, IM mute and Q&A manager.
Last month, Microsoft made a number of updates to Lync to improve the Lync Meeting experience. Among those enhancements were the ability to "turn any conversation on a Windows Phone, iPhone or iPad into a Lync meeting," the ability to view Lync meeting content from Windows Phones and iPhones; the ability to see Outlook meeting schedules and join Lync Meetings from directly inside the Lync client; and the ability to control meeting interactions with IM mute and Q&A manager.
Those new meeting capabilities were updated for Office 365 and Lync Online. But on-premises Lync users couldn't take advantage of them until this week, by applying the July Cumulative Update for Lync Server 2013.
Microsoft's guidelines for planning for and deploying two-factor authentication with Lync are here. One caveat worth calling out from Microsoft:
"Customers who have deployed two-factor authentication for Microsoft Exchange may find that certain features in the Lync client are unavailable. This is currently by design, as the Lync client does not support two-factor authentication for features that are dependent on Exchange integration."