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Updates to Basic Authentication and Exchange Online – April 2020

Understanding Exchange Online and Basic Authentication
Exchange Online is Microsoft’s cloud-based email, calendaring, contacts, and task management service that is part of the Office 365 suite of services. It provides users with a secure and reliable platform to send, receive, and manage their email, calendars, and contacts.

Basic authentication is a type of authentication used to validate user credentials when connecting to Exchange Online. This type of authentication requires a username and password to be provided to the server in order to access the service.

Exchange Online – April 2020 Update
Microsoft recently announced an update to Exchange Online that will provide users with improved security and performance when accessing the service. Starting in April 2020, basic authentication will be disabled by default for all new Exchange Online tenants.

This change is intended to improve the security of Exchange Online by preventing users from accidentally leaving their account open to potential attackers. Additionally, it will help prevent malicious actors from gaining access to user accounts.

Impact on Users
The impact of this change will vary depending on the type of authentication used to access Exchange Online. Users who are currently using basic authentication will need to switch to an alternative authentication method such as Microsoft’s Conditional Access, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), or Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).

Enabling Basic Authentication
If you need to enable basic authentication in order to access Exchange Online, there are a few steps that need to be taken. First, you will need to log in to the Office 365 Admin Center and navigate to the Security & Compliance section.

From here, you will need to navigate to the Authentication Policies tab and select the “Enable Basic Authentication” checkbox. Once this is done, basic authentication will be enabled for your tenant.

Conclusion
Basic authentication is an important security feature of Exchange Online and should be used with caution. Microsoft’s April 2020 update to Exchange Online will help ensure that users are better protected against potential attackers.

If you need to enable basic authentication in order to access Exchange Online, there are a few steps that need to be taken in order to do so. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily configure basic authentication for your tenant and help keep your data safe and secure.
References:
Basic Authentication and Exchange Online – April 2020 Update

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