User Authentication

The Top 9 Two-Factor Authentication Solutions

Discover the top Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) solutions to verify users’ identity when accessing online accounts.

The Top 9 Two-Factor Authentication Solutions include:
  • 1. Auth0 by Okta
  • 2. Broadcom Symantec VIP
  • 3. Cisco Secure Access by Duo
  • 4. ESET Secure Authentication
  • 5. Microsoft Authenticator
  • 6. OneLogin
  • 7. OneSpan Intelligent Adaptive Authentication
  • 8. Twilio Verify API – Authy
  • 9. Yubico YubiKey

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a means of verifying that a user is who they say they are, thereby ensuring that only valid users have access to sensitive or critical infrastructure. In order to authorize your access, 2FA requires your identity to be verified in two independent ways. These “factors” of authentication are based around something you know, something you have, or something you are. 

Two-Factor Authentication is an important tool in your cybersecurity set up as it adds an extra layer of certainty as to who has access to your systems. Rather than relying on a single password and username combination, 2FA will cross-reference this data with another factor. You will only be granted access if these two verification methods complement each other. Common authentication factors might be submitting a one-time passcode (OTP) or use of a biometric scanner (FaceID or a fingerprint scanner) to verify identity.

When looking for a 2FA solution, there are a few key features worth considering. Having granular policies accessed through a comprehensive dashboard ensures that you can balance the need for security, with the end-user experience that suits your way of working. Policies should be customizable, so you are able to decide how you want your 2FA solution to be enacted, and ensure it acts as a robust line of defense. Your dashboard should be able to provide you with clear and extensive reporting logs. This will ensure that any recurring issues are highlighted, or potential breaches are flagged, and trends can be monitored.

Ensuring that your 2FA solution is easily integrated with a range of third-party apps is important. If your 2FA doesn’t work seamlessly with the apps and services you use, many end-users will see 2FA as a hinderance, rather than an important security feature. Linked to the idea of ease of use is the range of authentication methods available. Depending on the way you work, physical authentication devices (smartcards or keys) might add a significant level of security. For some departments, app-based push notifications may be better as they ensure that users can access their accounts easily and efficiently.

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Okta Logo

Auth0 was acquired by Okta in 2021, making it one of the biggest players in the CIAM (Customer Identity and Access Management) market. Auth0 balances the need for a convenient 2FA solution, with privacy and risk concerns.

Auth0 by Okta Features:

Auth0 offers the full range of authentication factors, with a helpful pros and cons section on their website ensuring that you can make an informed decision about the best solution for your organization. Adaptive Context-Aware Multifactor Authentication provides an added layer of coverage through basing authentication decisions on geographic location, time, day, network type, custom domains, or specific IP. Auth0 allows you to code for any arbitrary condition if there is a specific feature you need.

Auth0 allows you to create tailored policies for specific mission-critical applications. You can configure the policy to require an additional layer of security whilst working outside of your organization’s intranet or working from a new location. This ensures that convenience can be at the heart of the service when the highest level of security is not needed. When contextual factors are as expected, the most stringent security measures do not need to be implemented.

The default setting within Auth0 is for 2FA to be used once per month, but this can be altered in the dashboard to ensure that you can balance security with productivity. The dashboard itself is clear and user-friendly. Importing users from a previous database is simple, thanks to Auth0’s template script library.

Expert Insights’ Comments: A report by Forrester saw a 548% ROI (predominantly through a reduction in costs associated with troubleshooting and reporting, reduced security and auditing costs, and an increase in productivity and speed of innovation around app development that required authentication), with the average payback time being less than 6 months. We would recommend Auth0 by Okta to SMBs and larger organizations alike. Auth0’s level of customization and flexibility means that it is simple to set up but has the potential to be shaped in a way that suits your organization’s needs.

Broadcom Logo

Symantec is the cybersecurity subsidiary of Broadcom. Symantec VIP, their 2FA solution, describes itself as focused on “control, convenience and compliance” to give employees freedom to work where they want, on devices they want, whilst retaining control and security of critical infrastructure. This foundational principle has resulted in a robust and granular 2FA solution, that can be a strong tool in any organization’s security infrastructure.

Broadcom Symantec VIP Features:

Symantec VIP operates as a cloud-based server, with access to the dashboard provided through the VIP Manager. Here, you can find information about who is on your network, user activity and credential verification rates. Users have praised how simple the interface is to interact with and identify the most relevant metrics. Within VIP Manager, access is role-based, meaning that you can select which admins have privileged control access, and which users have limited or read-only access.

Users can select which authentication method suits their workflow. As well as offering authentication through security tokens, security cards, SMS or voice OTPs, Symantec has developed their VIP Access app that can operate on a mobile or desktop devices. Admins can control which authentication factors are offered and alter this depending on user group.

Symantec doesn’t limit security to its customers, but has its own stringent internal security procedures to keep your data safe. Data centres are physically and logically separated from Symantec’s own corporate network, thereby reducing the risk of your data being stolen. Within the company, a restricted number of employees (who have passed background checks) are able to access the Symantec cloud infrastructure.

Symantec VIP also offers a “credentials wallet” feature, which allows you to store your user identification for a range of services from email to social media to AWS and GitLab. This wallet has 256-bit level encryption, ensuring that your data is secure.

Expert Insights’ Comments: Symantec VIP is a comprehensive and extensive 2FA solution. While it is very easy to use from an end-user perspective, it requires an experienced administrator to utilize the full capabilities that Symantec has on offer. We would, therefore, recommend Symantec VIP to medium-sized business and enterprises who demand granular control and high security standards.

Duo Logo

Duo Security, acquired by Cisco in 2018, is consistently named by users as a provider of easy-to-use and effective 2FA and MFA security solutions. The combination of effective security measures and ease of deployment means that Cisco Secure Access by Duo reduces the risk of a successful phishing attack or brute-force attack, while being easy for admins to install and configure. The system’s ease of use makes it easier for users to sign into their corporate accounts securely, thereby reducing the risk of social engineering. This scalable solution is designed for fast set up, and easy configuration to provide coverage from day one.

Cisco Secure Access by Duo Features:

Cisco Secure Access by Duo allows users to select authentication methods that suit them, thereby ensuring the system works for them and does not disrupt productivity. A “self-service portal” is provided to allow users to add, edit and manage their own devices and authentication preferences.

Cisco Secure Access by Duo recommends using the Duo Mobile app as the second-factor authentication method – this is made easy due to the app being available on iPhone, Android, and wearable devices. Duo Mobile can be used for push notifications, or TOTPs, but Duo also facilitates biometric authentication, security keys, as well as OTCs via SMS and email.

Cisco Secure Access by Duo can be deployed in a number of ways: multi-cloud, hybrid, or on-premises, meaning that you are able to tailor your security to your business. The service natively integrates with a wide range of applications and platforms, making it a good choice for your business as it grows.

From an administrator’s perspective, Cisco Secure Access by Duo offers the granular level of customization and monitoring that ensures you can tailor your 2FA policies to enhance security, whilst maintaining usability. The Duo dashboard provides real time insights and high-level data regarding the security health of all devices. Large groups of new users can be added through the “Active Directory Sync” function, resulting in efficient, low-touch provisioning. Administrators are also able to monitor what devices are being used to access accounts and can flag if an out-of-date OS is being used. Administrators can prevent access to critical accounts if the OS is not up to date and could be a potential security vulnerability.

Expert Insights’ Comments: Perhaps the strongest endorsement of Cisco Secure Access by Duo is the fact that many users state that they have no reason to change their 2FA solution. We recommend Cisco Secure Access by Duo to organizations of all sizes that require a strong 2FA or MFA solution that is easy to implement but still has a great level of customization and granular detail.


ESET’s 2FA solution requires no dedicated IT staff, thereby making it accessible to companies of all sizes. This has resulted in an easy to set up and use application that can be integrated with Microsoft Active Directory domains or local area networks easily.

ESET Secure Authentication Features:

The ESET ESA Web Console provides admins with a concise breakdown of users, servers, components, and license details. By collating all this information in a single console, admins can easily monitor how many active 2FA accounts there are (and how many of these are yet to be set up, or locked out), as well as managing the number of remaining SMSs notifications and license days. This reduces the likelihood of oversight.

ESET ESA offers HOTP and OTP-based authentication, alongside push notifications and hardware tokens. You can use one FIDO authenticator per registered user, giving you an additional level of high security. ESET makes 2FA protocols easy to adopt into any company by offering a cloud-based service. This means you do not need to manage a dedicated server, thereby reducing staff and running costs.

The service is designed to work natively with VPNs, RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), OWA (Outlook Web Access), VMware Horizon View, and RADIUS-based services. Depending on your needs, ESET ESA provides an API and SDK that allows you to modify your MFA features.

Multi-tenancy management is offered by ESET through the cloud, making it a good solution for MSPs. This means that administrators can configure settings for multiple clients or sites from one web console. This allows greater flexibility, ensuring that staff and systems can be secure wherever they are located when managed by an MSP.

Expert Insights’ Comments: We would recommend ESET Secure Authentication for small to medium sized businesses who need a regulation-compliant 2FA solution, without a dedicated IT team to set it up, and oversee ongoing policy maintenance. ESET ESA is a versatile solution that allows administrators to tailor their service as much or as little as they need.

Microsoft logo

Microsoft Authenticator is a popular and ergonomic app for adding 2FA security to your existing accounts. The app offers many integrations, meaning that you can adopt a 2FA system without hassle.

Microsoft Authenticator Features:

Microsoft allows you to use their Authenticator app to provide 2FA cover within the Microsoft framework, and for your other, non-Microsoft accounts. By scanning a QR code, the end user can link their account with the authenticator app, making it quick and simple.

Microsoft offers the conventional factors of authentication: hardware tokens, SMS verification, push notifications, and voice-based authentication. This means that you can enforce 2FA from your smartphone, without the need for additional devices. If, however, you would like to incorporate a YubiKey or other hardware token, Microsoft is versatile enough to accept that.

Many users have praised how easy the app is to set up and use, therefore making it an important part of their security procedures. Thanks to a wide number of integrations – from Microsoft accounts like 365 and Azure, to non-Microsoft accounts like Google, social media, and GitHub are all suitable. Not only is Authenticator a robust authentication app, but it allows users to store passwords, addresses, and verified IDs in a secure vault.

Expert Insights’ Comments: Microsoft Authenticator is a 2FA solution that is easy to adopt due to its wide coverage and clear design. We would recommend Microsoft Authenticator to organizations of any size, as well as to individuals for their personal accounts. The application provides effective and robust security of your accounts, without impeding efficiency. As Microsoft Authenticator is a service operated by Microsoft, the end user is allowed only limited customization of their security settings.

Onelogin logo

OneLogin, acquired by One Identity in 2021, is a straightforward 2FA solution that provides a robust layer of security to your workplace. Beyond the usual host of authorization factors, OneLogin offers several useful features – like SSO, SmartFactor Authentication, and compromised credential check – to keep your 2FA solution frictionless and effective.

OneLogin Features:

Admins can select what threat level they are willing to tolerate before initiating further factor authentication. Setting a minimal threat tolerance result in MFA being used on most occasions, while setting a high tolerance level favors the user experience, and only challenges the user at appropriate times. Authentication factors can be applied to specific users based on predefined roles. Within the OneLogin system, it is easy to alter a user’s job role – and threat threshold – in real time, ensuring that you can work efficiently and without delay.

OneLogin supports SSO and offers a full range of authorization factors. It can be used in conjunction with services like Duo Security, Symantec VIP Access and YubiKey as an additional authentication factor. Users can select which factor of authentication they would like to use, thereby ensuring they can remain productive. If you require a higher security threshold, OneLogin offers SmartFactor Authentication to utilize machine learning and evaluate risk and contextual factors to make an authentication decision.

As well as seamless integration with cloud HR systems, OneLogin integrates well with SIS (Student Information Systems), like PowerSchool, to facilitate broad groups with diverse needs, such as students, faculty members, and staff. OneLogin also cross-references new passwords with a database of stolen credentials to prevent compromised accounts accessing your network.

Expert Insights’ Comments: We recommend OneLogin to SMBs who can benefit from dynamic security implementation, and the granular level of control offered through the dashboard. OneLogin’s host of additional features ensure that you can get a lot from this solution, without requiring extensive provisioning or configuration.


OneSpan Intelligent Adaptive Authentication is predominantly an effective MFA solution but can be configured to run 2FA. Their service is designed with financial services in mind, and therefore focuses on reducing account takeover fraud, whilst meeting strict global compliance regulations.

OneSpan Intelligent Adaptive Authentication Features:

OneSpan’s adaptive authentication capabilities ensure that your accounts are protected to a very high degree. The system runs real-time analysis to produce a risk score, based off user metrics, device, and transactional data. This score enables OneSpan to make an informed decision regarding identity and authentication, stepping up authentication when required to ensure security without adding friction to the login process unnecessarily.

OneSpan offers a diverse range of authentication factors like out-of-band authentication via SMS OTPs, push notifications, biometric authentication, and hardware authenticators to prevent against fraudulent access. OneSpan focuses on a passwordless, FIDO-compatible approach, which improves security posture as there are no passwords to be phished, whilst making the process efficient and convenient for the end user. By incorporating FIDO into your security framework, you can reduce server-side vulnerabilities, without sacrificing usability.

OneSpan makes it easy to roll out and update any new policies or change authentication methods without the need for coding changes. This is all controlled from an intuitive and granular management interface.

Expert Insights’ Comments: We would recommend OneSpan Adaptive Authentication to larger organizations that need a high level of security to protect sensitive user data and accounts. Due to OneSpan’s anti-fraud capabilities, the financial or medical sectors are ideal candidates for their 2FA solution.

Twilio Logo

Verify API is the 2FA solution from San Francisco based communications company, Twilio. Their 2FA solution is split into two parts: Verify API is the system used to drive the 2FA process, while Authy is their verification app. Both parts have been designed with ease of use in mind to allow for frictionless 2FA within the workplace.

Twilio Verify API Features:

From initial deployment, Verify API focuses on making 2FA as easy and integrated as possible. There are several preconfigured policy options that ensure 2FA can be rolled out immediately. However, once deployed, the Twilio Console allows you to tailor these policies to suit your needs. Admins are able to customize the 2FA policy from the Twilio Console with options to alter rate limits, geo-permissions, and fraud controls. Key metrics are logged to build a comprehensive picture of verification conversions and delivery rates. For further customization, you can edit the code in the Twilio Console, with clear guides on their website.

Twilio provides the authentication factors you would expect – email, SMS, and WhatsApp OTPs, voice verification, push notifications and TOTPs through the Authy app. Twilio also offers a factor called “Silent Device Approval”, which uses a registered device to automatically verify identity, provided that certain criteria are met, requiring no direct interaction from the end user.

You can add a further layer of security when using Authy by requiring a fingerprint or PIN to access the app. All 2FA data is end-to-end encrypted before being backed up on the Twilio cloud, which allows you to deactivate your device if lost, and restore data to a new device.

Twilio’s focus on ease of use is at the core of Verify API. Authentication messages are automatically translated across 42 languages so your SMS OTP notifications can connect to clients around the world. When creating these messages, Twilio’s default setting is for push notification verification (over SMS OTPs) as these are very secure and frictionless.

Expert Insights’ Comments: Twilio offers a range of subscription models to suit your business and the way you work. There is a pay-as-you-go plan for companies needing fewer than 10,000 authorizations per month. This ensures that the service you pay for matches your needs, rather than having a generic plan. We recommend Twilio Authy to SMBs looking for a 2FA solution that is easy to implement and has the capacity to scale as the business grows.

Yubico Logo

A YubiKey, by Swedish company Yubico, is a hardware 2FA solution that offers some of the highest levels of security for your account. The key is inserted into your USB, lightning port, or can connect via NFC, where you can authenticate your identity. The YubiKey is widely used across various sectors as it combines digital authentication with a physical factor, making it very difficult to bypass.

Yubico YubiKey Features:

As a YubiKey can be the size of a memory stick, it is small and portable enough to be added to your keyring. This makes authentication easy and hassle free. Yubico have clearly thought about the practicality of this solution, as the YubiKey is waterproof and crush resistant. The key easily integrates with a wide range of accounts and services; these include Windows and Mac login, Duo, Gmail, and Salesforce.

Yubico offers an authenticator app which can provide TOTPs to access other accounts. The advantage of Yubico’s app over other authenticator apps is that you need a YubiKey to access the authenticator app. This is like adding an extra layer of 2FA to your 2FA solution. Because you can simply insert the key to your cellphone’s USB port, lightning port, or use NFC, this layer of security does not impede productivity.

The YubiKey can support multiple security protocols, like FIDO2 & FIDO U2F, OTP, SmartCard, or OpenPGP making it a versatile option to suit your way of working. The key can be used to go passwordless, as you can verify your identity using the inbuilt fingerprint scanner or custom authorization gesture.

Expert Insights’ Comments: A Forrester report saw a 203% ROI, with average payback time being less than a year. Perhaps more importantly, there was a 75% decrease in helpdesk tickets regarding passwords, and the YubiKey was able to prevent 99.9% of phishing and credential attacks. With a range of YubiKeys on the market, there is an option to suit the scale and way of working for any organization. We would recommend a Yubico YubiKey to organizations that require a high level of security and want the peace of mind that comes through utilizing a physical authentication factor.

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The Top 9 Two-Factor Authentication Solutions