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Summary: In the digital age, securing Microsoft 365 data is crucial. Modern Authentication enhances security by using tokens instead of storing credentials, providing Multi-Factor Authentication and permission scopes. Enable it through the admin center or Exchange Online PowerShell to protect your data effectively. Consider Kernel Office 365 Backup and Restore for comprehensive data protection.

Technological advancements reshape traditional methods and infrastructure, ushering in a digital era. With the bulk of our data stored online, cyber attackers pose a significant threat. Preventive measures are vital for Microsoft 365 users to avert security breaches. The Verizon Report highlights that compromised credentials during authentication are a leading cause of data breaches. Malicious actors employ tactics such as credential phishing, social engineering, and brute force attacks.

In a bid to bolster the security of Microsoft 365 logins and guard against data breaches, Microsoft has rolled out a robust solution called Modern Authentication. Unlike the Basic Authentication method, which solely relies on user credentials, Modern Authentication combines both authentication and authorization processes, rendering it considerably more secure. Hence, you need not worry about the security of Microsoft 365 mailboxes.

To get a clear understanding of how Modern Authentication enhances the security mechanism, you must know about the basic authentication method.

Basic Authentication

Basic Authentication is a conventional method for accessing your Microsoft 365 account, involving the use of a username and password. When Basic Authentication is employed to authenticate an app or add-in with your Microsoft account, it necessitates the entry of user credentials. This entails that your credentials are stored on the server for authentication, potentially exposing them to hackers seeking to pilfer user information.

Furthermore, another drawback of Basic Authentication leading to its deprecation is the inability to set specific application permission scopes. Consequently, every application possesses unrestricted access to all user data. Additionally, it lacks essential security features such as multi-factor authentication and conditional access, which are vital for fortifying the authentication process.

Modern Authentication

Modern Authentication stands out as a more secure alternative to Basic Authentication due to its fusion of authentication and authorization methods. Built upon the foundation of Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) and OAuth 2.0, it prioritizes security. In Modern Authentication, user credentials are not stored by the application; instead, tokens are employed for authentication. Once a token is used for account login, it is returned to the application. These tokens have limited lifetimes and become invalid after use, preventing any potential misuse.

  • Active Directory Authentication Library: This authentication mechanism provides access to the secured resources for an application via security tokens. For seamless access to Microsoft 365 resources, it also offers the SSO (Single Sign-On) feature.
  • OAuth2.0: In this authorization protocol, you can access the resources with the client application via access tokens. This protocol provides access without sharing your credentials with the resource server.

Within Microsoft 365, you have the capability to specify permission scopes, limiting data access for particular applications. Additionally, the system provides Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which mandates supplementary verification methods for accessing specific resources. These methods can include fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, or memorized PINs. MFA operates in conjunction with Conditional Access policies and necessitates a one-time token during the authentication process.

Enable Modern Authentication in Office 365?

There are different methods used to enable Modern Authentication in Office 365. You can choose any method as per your suitability.

Using the Microsoft admin center

You must perform the below steps to set up modern Authentication in Office 365 through the admin center.

  • First, browse to access the admin center with your global admin credentials.
  • From the listed menu, click on Settings -> Org settings.
  • Next, select Modern Authentication, listed under the Services tab.
  • After that, click to enable Modern Authentication for Outlook 2013 for Windows and later.
  • Finally, click Save.
Using the Exchange Online PowerShell

If you want to perform the same using Exchange Online PowerShell, you must follow the below steps:

  • First, connect your Microsoft 365 account to PowerShell.
  • If using the Outlook 2013 or later version, run the below command to enable modern Authentication:
    Set-OrganizationConfig -OAuth2ClientProfileEnabled $true
  • If you want to verify that the modern Authentication has been enabled, you need to run the following command:
    Get-OrganizationConfig | Format-Table Name,OAuth* -Auto


Modern Authentication is essential within Microsoft 365 to safeguard your data. Relying solely on basic credentials during authentication is insufficient for security. Enabling Modern Authentication enhances protection by providing Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) and enabling you to control data access for applications more effectively.

To safeguard your Office 365 applications, consider using a robust backup solution like the Kernel Office 365 Backup and Restore tool. This widely-used tool offers versatile mailbox backup options, including shared and archive mailboxes, public folders, and groups. It supports modern Authentication for Microsoft 365 login and provides multiple output formats like PST, DOCX, DOC, PDF, and HTML. It also features automated backup with a built-in CSV file and customizable smart filters for selecting specific data.