Posted On 08 Dec 2018
Azure and Microsoft Office 365 Users Locked Out
Recently, users of Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure were locked out of their accounts because of a malfunctioning multi-factor authentication process. On November 19, the service status pages for both applications admitted that users could discover that it was impossible to log in or to reset their passwords. The updates went on to say that restarts had been affected for all the MFA processes and that the situation was improving, adding that ongoing monitoring was taking place. Multifactor authentication is highly recommended for extra security with online accounts, and Microsoft and other experts certainly support its use. However, as in this case, if the system fails, those who have not opted for the extra level of security will profit by being able to carry on working while the more careful get locked out of their accounts. Many businesses will be unhappy about the fact that this malfunction has blocked their access to their cloud-based data and services, which could have costly implications. Whether any action will be taken regarding these losses, either by Microsoft or affected companies, remains to be seen.
Google Duplex Trial Expanded
Google Duplex, an automatic service that can contact businesses on behalf of users to place bookings, has now been launched to a small number of users. Google has stated that the service will undergo a “slow rollout”; a small group of users who own Google Pixel cell phones in certain cities can now access Duplex. In addition, Duplex can contact businesses that are not signed up in partnership with Google.
Duplex is extremely restricted in this current format, even more so than it was at the demonstration stage. Anyone using Duplex will only be able to book restaurants (no hotels or other businesses) and only certain restaurants can be contacted. The service can only be used on Pixel phones, and it will only make booking calls in English. Google has not released the timeframe for any improvements, although it has stated that Duplex calls are being recorded so presumably the data is being analyzed. The service works by telling Global Assistant to make a reservation; the Assistant will then ascertain crucial facts regarding your booking—date, time etc.—and call the restaurant. Once the reservation has been finalized, it will be added to your calendar. Google has yet to set a date for a wider rollout of the service.