When to use an Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication provider


Effective September 1st, 2018 new auth providers may no longer be created. Existing auth providers may continue to be used and updated, but migration is no longer possible. Multi-factor authentication will continue to be available as a feature in Azure AD Premium licenses.

Two-step verification is available by default for Global Administrators who have Azure Active Directory, and Microsoft 365 users. However, if you wish to take advantage of advanced features then you should purchase the full version of Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

An Azure AD Multi-Factor Auth Provider is used to take advantage of features provided by Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication for users who do not have licenses.

Note the SDK has been deprecated and will only continue to work until November 14, 2018. After that time, calls to the SDK will fail.

What is an MFA provider?

There are two types of Auth providers, and the distinction is around how your Azure subscription is charged. The per-authentication option calculates the number of authentications performed against your tenant in a month. This option is best if some accounts authenticate only occasionally. The per-user option calculates the number of accounts that are eligible to perform MFA, which is all accounts in Azure AD, and all enabled accounts in MFA Server. This option is best if some users have licenses but you need to extend MFA to more users beyond your licensing limits.

Manage your MFA provider

You can't change the usage model (per enabled user or per authentication) after an MFA provider is created.

If you purchased enough licenses to cover all users that are enabled for MFA, you can delete the MFA provider altogether.

If your MFA provider isn't linked to an Azure AD tenant, or you link the new MFA provider to a different Azure AD tenant, user settings and configuration options aren't transferred. Also, existing Azure MFA Servers need to be reactivated using activation credentials generated through the MFA Provider.

Removing an authentication provider


There is no confirmation when deleting an authentication provider. Selecting Delete is a permanent process.

Authentication providers can be found in the Azure portal > Azure Active Directory > Security > MFA > Providers. Click on listed providers to see details and configurations associated with that provider.

Before removing an authentication provider, take note of any customized settings configured in your provider. Decide what settings need to be migrated to general MFA settings from your provider and complete the migration of those settings.

Azure MFA Servers linked to providers will need to be reactivated using credentials generated under Azure portal > Azure Active Directory > Security > MFA > Server settings. Before reactivating, the following files must be deleted from the \Program Files\Multi-Factor Authentication Server\Data\ directory on Azure MFA Servers in your environment:

  • caCert
  • cert
  • groupCACert
  • groupKey
  • groupName
  • licenseKey
  • pkey

Delete an auth provider from the Azure portal

After you confirm that all settings are migrated, you can browse to the Azure portal > Azure Active Directory > Security > MFA > Providers and select the ellipses ... and select Delete.


Deleting an authentication provider will delete any reporting information associated with that provider. You may want to save activity reports before deleting your provider.


Users with older versions of the Microsoft Authenticator app and Azure MFA Server may need to re-register their app.

Next steps

Configure Multi-Factor Authentication settings