Microsoft’s 2FA-protected OneDrive Personal Vault is now available

Microsoft today announced that its security feature is now available to all consumer accounts worldwide. Personal Vault, first announced back in June, provides a more secure storage folder for your account that’s protected by a second layer of identity verification, like a fingerprint, PIN, or a code sent to you via SMS or a mobile authenticator app. Initially, Personal Vault was only available to users in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. But the global rollout starts today.

If you want to access this storage area, you’ll have to verify your identity every time, even if you’ve already logged into your main OneDrive account using two-factor authentication (2FA). It may be smart to use a different style of 2FA for Personal Vault than the one you use for OneDrive, in the event your mobile SIM is hacked or someone has compromised your PIN or email address.

Microsoft suggests you might use the Personal Vault to back up sensitive documents in the event your main account is compromised, like a copy of your passport or sensitive financial information like tax records. Microsoft will also let you scan documents from the OneDrive mobile app and have them stored directly in the Personal Vault.

These documents will have additional security beyond just 2FA the Personal Vault will also lock automatically after a period of inactivity, and Microsoft says that if you’re using OneDrive on a Windows 10 PC, your Personal Vault will be synced to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your hard drive.

In my own brief testing, the Personal Vault seems to work as advertised. When I logged into my OneDrive account via a browser, OneDrive prompted me to try out the Personal Vault. Once I authenticated myself, I was able to upload files just like I normally would to OneDrive. The process seems pretty painless, and it sounds useful for those who want an additional layer of security for their accounts.

Microsoft also announced today that OneDrive can automatically back up your Desktop, Documents, or Pictures folders to your OneDrive on Windows 7, 8, or 10. If you choose to do that, you should be able to access those folders from any device with OneDrive. This feature sounds similar to how iCloud Drive can automatically back up your Desktop and Documents folders from Finder.

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