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As the deadline for Microsoft's legacy authentication deprecation draws near, organizations must pivot towards more secure authentication methods, leveraging the expertise of Managed Detection and Response (MDR) cybersecurity services to navigate this transition smoothly.

The Critical Shift from Legacy to Modern Authentication

Legacy authentication's reliance on mere usernames and passwords exposes organizations to increased security risks, such as brute-force and password spray attacks. Microsoft's initiative to phase out legacy authentication for essential protocols in Exchange Online underscores the necessity for a shift to Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization). This transition not only bolsters security by limiting token lifespan but also facilitates the enforcement of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), a cornerstone of MDR cybersecurity strategies.

Identifying and Mitigating Risks with MDR Cybersecurity Services

MDR cybersecurity services play a pivotal role in identifying applications and users still reliant on legacy authentication, employing advanced tools and analytics to pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. These services offer comprehensive support for organizations transitioning to Modern authentication, ensuring that security measures are not only implemented but also continuously monitored and optimized.

Strategies for Seamless Migration to Modern Authentication

  1. Leverage Azure Portal for Discovery: Utilize Azure's portal tools and reports to identify legacy authentication usage, a critical step supported by MDR cybersecurity insights.

  2. Adopt Conditional Access Policies: Implementing conditional access policies, particularly for organizations with AAD P2 licenses, can streamline the migration process. MDR cybersecurity services can provide the necessary guidance and oversight for these policies.

  3. Engage in Proactive Remediation: With the support of MDR cybersecurity, organizations can undertake discovery and remediation efforts effectively, utilizing conditional access policies in "Report Only" mode to ensure a smooth transition without impacting user access.

How Do You Know Which Application/Users Will Be Impacted?

There are several ways to identify applications using legacy authentication, including viewing the authentication dialogue and checking Message Center, Admin Center, and Azure Active Directory (AAD) sign-in reports. Fortunately, there are easier ways to check for applications and users using legacy authentications.

All Azure users can view a workbook to check the status of applications and users

Search for “legacy” in the search box and find “Sign-Ins using Legacy Authentication.” This will display applications, legacy protocols, and users using legacy protocols. Note that you can tab between interactive and non-interactive sign-ins.

If you are licensed for AAD P2, you can get visibility if you have an existing policy, or you can create one to help migrate users here.

If you have a policy, go to “Insights and reporting” on the left menu, followed by “Workbooks” on the left. If you do not, choose “+ New policy from templates (Preview)” from the top navigation and “Block Legacy Authentication” to create a policy. From the main menu, you can now access results as described above. Note that by default, your new policy will be in “Report Only” mode, and we recommend performing your discovery and remediation work in this mode before enabling the policy.

While this deprecation has been widely communicated for quite some time, SecureSky is still finding organizations and even some application developers lagging in their response. Time is of the essence to avoid user and potential business impact.

The Urgency of MDR Cybersecurity Intervention

Despite Microsoft's clear communication on the legacy authentication deprecation timeline, many organizations find themselves unprepared. With the October 1, 2022, deadline imminent, the role of MDR cybersecurity services becomes crucial in ensuring organizations transition timely and securely, avoiding potential disruptions, and maintaining robust security postures.

The deprecation of legacy authentication signifies a pivotal moment for organizational security, urging a shift toward modern authentication practices. MDR cybersecurity services are essential in guiding this transition, offering the expertise and tools necessary to enhance security measures and comply with new standards. As the deadline approaches, partnering with an MDR cybersecurity provider can help organizations navigate this change confidently and securely.

For expert assistance with legacy authentication deprecation and adopting Modern authentication practices, SecureSky's MDR cybersecurity team is ready to help. Contact us at info@securesky.com for comprehensive support through this essential security enhancement process.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at info@securesky.com for assistance. We would be happy to assist you.