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9 Duo alternatives for multi-factor authentication

Compare Duo multi-factor authentication (MFA) with UserLock and understand the pros and cons of each solution for Active Directory (AD) environments.

Published March 8, 2023
Azure MFA server vs azure ad mfa

With customers worldwide, Duo is a cloud-based access security option for organizations and individuals alike. The software offers secure access control and MFA to verify user identities using on-premises or cloud-based credentials.

While users champion the platform for its interface, flexibility, and cloud-oriented features, there are many reasons to look into Duo MFA alternatives, especially if you have an on-premises or hybrid AD environment.

Why consider a Duo alternative for MFA?

Every organization or individual has their own set of cybersecurity requirements and priorities. So naturally, we all filter MFA solutions through our own unique checklist, and the right solution for one isn’t automatically the right solution for all.

Duo offers a solid cloud-based access management, MFA, and single sign-on (SSO) solution — but for some organizations, it may not be the best fit.

According to end-users at Gartner Peer Insights, common drawbacks to Duo MFA include:

  • Customer support is very basic, and customers report slow responses

  • Less technical end-users may struggle with the difficult configuration process

  • MFA has been known to time out

  • Push notifications, in particular, are often delayed and only have a 30-second limit

  • Duo MFA doesn’t allow users to save their devices, and it does not remember users

  • Integration with Active Directory needs to be manually configured

What are the best Duo alternatives?

Aside from Duo by Cisco, there are many MFA solutions on the market today. Let's take a look at how the solutions below stack up against each other, specifically for AD environments.


UserLock provides a strong Duo MFA alternative for on-premises and hybrid AD environments. It lets organizations exercise greater control over user access with granular MFA and contextual access management. With MFA on all connection types, optional SSO (allowing MFA for cloud app access), secure user provisioning, and session management capabilities, UserLock helps IT teams boost productivity and automate a big part of the fight against common cybersecurity threats.

Unlike Duo, UserLock is specifically designed to integrate on-premise and hybrid AD environments. This makes installation and use a breeze for organizations that, whether for optimal security, legacy investments, or preference, haven’t made the jump to the cloud.  It extends security, monitoring, and reporting capabilities without replacing AD as the identity management directory. UserLock is also user-friendly, with contextual access management, granular controls, and a range of MFA methods creating a smooth login experience.


  • Verifies AD user identities for secure access to network and cloud services.

  • Integrates seamlessly as an extension of AD environments, without changing existing schema.

  • Enables MFA for Windows, RDP, RD Gateway, VPN, IIS, and cloud applications.

  • Integrates with authenticator apps, including Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and LastPass Authenticator.

  • Supports hardware tokens such as YubiKey and Token2, as well as push notifications through the UserLock Push mobile app.

  • Offers secure MFA with time-based and HMAC-based one-time passwords.

  • Allows admins to enable MFA on offline user access.

  • Installs and deploys in minutes.

Microsoft Azure Active Directory (now Microsoft Entra ID)

Another common Duo alternative is Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Now known as Microsoft Entra ID, a common solution for AD environments that want to either move to the cloud completely or simply secure user access to cloud resources.


  • Conditional access controls with adaptive policies

  • Real-time visibility of signals such as user context, device, and location

  • SSO with Azure AD

  • Azure ID Identity Protection


  • High cost compared to other MFA solutions

  • Reported outages of Azure Active Directory

  • Difficult user interface in Azure Active Directory

  • Some users feel the user interface makes it difficult to find the reports they need

Microsoft Azure Active Directory pricing

A standalone Azure Premium P1 license starts from $6 per user per month, while a P2 license costs $9 per user per month.

Symantec VIP

Symantec Validation and ID Protection Service (VIP) is a cloud-based authentication service that enables enterprises to secure access to their networks and applications. This service ensures that both enterprise and end-users can securely authenticate from any location or device.


  • A range of MFA methods, including push notifications

  • Users can use a Credential Wallet to store commonly used security keys

  • Anti-cloning features help automate the protection of user identities online

  • Real-time alerting on suspicious activity


  • Some bugs may mean that users authenticating via push notification receive a timeout error

  • Customization of policies may not be granular enough for some organizations

  • The platform can be expensive for new or small organizations

  • Native Azure integration is not supported

Symantec VIP pricing

Around $30 per user per year, depending on features and the number of users.


Okta is a cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) solution that offers secure and user-friendly authentication. It also provides additional MFA and SSO add-on solutions.


  • Admins can configure Okta MFA at the application or organizational level, with a range of verification methods

  • Okta integrates with a vast number of cloud and SaaS application providers

  • Contextual access management allows admins to streamline MFA

  • The Okta Admin Console gives deep monitoring and auditing capabilities


  • Okta’s cloud-based service syncs via additional software to protect on-premise and legacy applications

  • Admins cannot define restricted or permitted login hours for their users

  • It’s not possible to restrict the number of concurrent sessions for a user

  • Users often report a time lag between accepting a push notification and login

Okta pricing

Okta has a minimum annual pricing level (currently $1,500) that may be too expensive for some organizations.

Imprivata Confirm ID

Imprivata Confirm ID helps organizations confirm user identities for remote access, connected devices, and cloud apps. It provides a single management platform that allows admins to implement security controls across corporate networks.


  • Multiple MFA methods, including hands-free authentication

  • Strong reporting makes audits much easier

  • With MFA for remote working, admins can still authenticate users working outside the corporate network

  • Integrates with a number of cloud applications to provide additional verification


  • Some users report a frustrating customer service experience

  • The user interface can be confusing and make it challenging to find specific features

  • The software can be difficult and time-consuming to deploy

  • A limited feature roadmap for future releases

Imprivata Confirm ID pricing

Prices begin at around $50 per user per year for authentication management and SSO bundle (assuming 1,000 users).

SecureAuth Arculix

The Arculix identity platform integrates with leading cloud service providers, web applications, and VPN types to offer improved remote access. It supports MFA and SSO while complementing existing IAM systems.


  • Passwordless and smart MFA allows organizations to implement a zero-trust security philosophy

  • Users can handle their own password resets, reducing the workload on IT teams

  • Straightforward policy creation lets admins streamline their MFA checks

  • Machine learning models assign risk scores for each user login, alerting admins to suspicious attempts


  • Mobile device software is sometimes buggy and frustrating for end users

  • While the support team often helps to fix issues, they can take a long time to reply

  • Some users report having to upgrade their package to access features commonly found as standard with other solutions

  • Provisioning and MFA enrollment for remote users can often be tricky and time-consuming

SecureAuth Arculix pricing

The price is currently unknown. Some user reviews mention the solution as cost-effective for their organization. Others say it has a prohibitive minimum spend for smaller businesses and that some security features cost extra.

Thales Safenet Authentication Service (SAS)

Thales SAS is a cloud-based user authentication solution that provides secure access to different platforms. It comes with strong MFA capabilities, with monitoring and reporting tools to give more control and visibility into user activity. Thales integrates with many popular SaaS applications and can be quickly deployed to protect user access to cloud applications.


  • As a cloud-based authentication platform, Thales helps secure online identities and cloud accounts

  • Thales offers a wide range of authentication methods and tokens

  • Context-based authentication enhances user logins by reducing repeated requests

  • The Thales policy engine enables flexible access management for admins configuring granular controls


  • Thales requires additional software and synchronization in on-premise and hybrid AD environments

  • SafeNet Trusted Access SSO is a separate product

  • Users report that very few new features have been added in recent years

  • Thales does not currently allow admins to limit concurrent user logins, opening organizations to potential security concerns

Thales Safenet Authentication Service (SAS) pricing

Pricing is currently unknown. Users often report that Thales offers a reasonable and flexible per-user pricing structure.

IBM Security Verify

IBM Security Verify is a popular workforce and consumer IAM solution. It offers a broad range of MFA methods to verify users on web applications, desktops, and mobile devices. It can integrate with both cloud and on-premise servers.


  • Full integration with other IBM products makes it easy to add this to an existing IBM-based ecosystem

  • Adaptive access can help admins fine-tune MFA to improve the user experience

  • Offers a range of MFA methods, including TouchID, hardware devices, and the IBM Verify app for iOS and Android

  • IBM lets admins define what they see as a high-risk incident, letting organizations configure their own alerts


  • Users say the lack of documentation makes it difficult to troubleshoot common issues

  • The solution can be tricky to deploy, with users mentioning challenging configuration of advanced controls

  • Reporting is limited without integrating a third-party solution

  • Users mention the lack of strong session management and API access controls

IBM Security Verify pricing

IBM Security Verify pricing is very transparent and based on usage. The exact pricing depends on the number of users and the features included. As an example, an organization of 1,000 users using MFA and adaptive access could expect to pay $3.75 per user per month. With more features, this price would increase. Smaller companies would pay more per user, while very large companies benefit from bulk pricing.

ManageEngine – ADSelfService Plus

ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus is an identity security solution. It’s a password management system that offers additional features like MFA. It also gives users self-service password configuration.


  • ADSelfService Plus provides self-service options, including password resets and account unlocks, that take user management tasks away from the helpdesk

  • MFA for endpoint and cloud app logins helps secure access to common applications

  • There are many optional add-on features, including additional MFA methods and SSO capabilities

  • ADSelfService Plus is available in three editions, letting organizations choose the right fit for their systems


  • Pricing structure may make ManageEngine out of budget for smaller organizations

  • Many features, which often come as standard with other solutions, are within premium versions of the product only

  • Integration with existing on-premise or hybrid systems can be a lengthy manual process

  • Customization options are limited — for example, there is no per-user granular control for on-premise or hybrid AD users

ManageEngine – ADSelfService Plus pricing

Pricing begins at $595. Several expected features are also offered as add-ons only. The upgraded professional edition begins at $1195 for 500 Domain Users and offers additional features beyond those found in the standard edition, such as conditional access controls.

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