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Microsoft Authenticator or Duo

Is Microsoft Authenticator inferior to Duo? Which is more secure to use? Learn more about security, benefits, drawbacks, and other topics by reading this article.

To improve user security, two-factor authentication has become an essential security tool for enterprises. The well-known programs Microsoft Authenticator and Duo both offer this degree of protection.

When a person logs in, Duo uses biometrics, time-based, one-time passwords, physical tokens, and push notifications to confirm their identity. Similar to this, Microsoft Authenticator can be integrated with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Entra ID (previously Azure Active Directory) and uses push notifications and one-time passcodes.

While there are some similarities between the two 2FA solutions, there are also some significant variances that may influence your choice.

Feature comparison between Duo and Microsoft Authenticator

Although both Microsoft Authenticator and Duo offer fantastic benefits to users, the following is a feature comparison of each product side by side:

Integration of application programming interfaces

The majority of business companies that are thinking about using Microsoft Authenticator or Duo will want to link these apps with either custom or already existing server programs and technologies.

Through its platform, Duo supports an infinite number of application connectors across all accessible versions.

However, even though Microsoft Authenticator can be integrated with other third-party goods and services, doing so is simpler when dealing with Microsoft-supported services, as some of them come pre-bundled with it.

Aspects of security

Prioritizing security, Microsoft Authenticator and Duo both provide strong capabilities to safeguard user accounts. Duo supports adaptive authentication, which assesses the risk of every login attempt and requests more verification as needed. Granular access policies are another feature it offers, enabling administrators to specify particular authentication requirements depending on user roles and circumstances.

By utilizing Microsoft Entra ID (Azure Active Directory), Microsoft Authenticator is able to provide advanced security features, including risk-based authentication, conditional access controls, and seamless single sign-on experiences across applications. Additionally, hardware-backed security keys are supported, providing even greater defense against phishing attempts.

Techniques of authentication

Duo and Microsoft Authenticator both offer multiple authentication methods. Duo offers a variety of authentication methods, including tokens, passcodes, hardware security keys, WebAuthn, biometrics, and push notifications.

Meanwhile, on compatible devices, Microsoft Authenticator offers biometric authentication (facial recognition, fingerprint), push notifications, and OTPs.

Restore and backup

Users can backup third-party OTP accounts and Duo-protected accounts using Duo’s Restore functionality and restore them to a different or identical device. This enables cloud storage systems like iCloud and Google Drive to store backups of your Duo accounts.

In a similar vein, users may safely keep their accounts and settings in the cloud with Microsoft Authenticator’s backup and recovery features. In the event of a device loss or malfunction, this functionality makes it simple to restore accounts on fresh devices.


The pricing comparison between Microsoft Authenticator and Duo is shown below.

Microsoft Authenticator price (free; bundled with some existing goods)

All Microsoft 365 Business and Entra ID (Azure Active Directory) accounts include Microsoft Authenticator, which is free of charge.

Dual pricing (free plan initially; next-level plan starts at $3 per user per month)

Based on the features and services you would want to see added to the application, Duo uses a tiered system.

Free plan: This version comes with basic security features and supports a maximum of 10 users.

Essential: Single sign-on, verified Duo push, trusted endpoints, and passwordless authentication are among the extra features included in this $3 per user per month package.

Advantage: All of the Essential features are included in the $6 per user per month Duo Advantage plan, along with risk-based authentication, adaptive access controls, device health checks, and total device visibility.

Premier: This plan covers all Advantage features and inclusions, including complete device trust with endpoint protection check, a comprehensive package for zero-trust access, and VPN-less remote access to private resources. The monthly cost per user is $9.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Microsoft Authenticator

Although Microsoft Authenticator has strong two-factor authentication capabilities, some users may have encountered a few issues with the device. The advantages and drawbacks are outlined below.


  • Login without a password.
  • Push alerts via a mobile application.
  • You can use the authenticator app as a software token.
  • support for backup and recovery.


  • Only the more expensive plans offer support for the multi-factor report option.
  • Certain people may find the pricing model difficult to understand.
  • Perhaps not the best option for businesses without Microsoft ecosystems.

Duo advantages and drawbacks

Although Duo offers a lot of advantages to its users, it is not without its problems. The advantages and drawbacks are outlined below.


  • Just a single sign-on.
  • Passwordless.
  • Various methods exist for authentication.
  • Activate Phishing Defense.
  • Identification of threats.
  • Backup and recovery.


  • Ten users can only be added to a Duo Free account.
  • Due to the numerous login choices, the user interface can be a little crowded in some areas.
  • Sometimes security alerts take longer than anticipated.

Is Microsoft Authenticator or Duo the better choice for your company?

Selecting 2FA software can be difficult, particularly when there are a lot of remarkable similarities between the products. If you have to choose between Microsoft Authenticator and Duo, your primary considerations should be cost, usability, and your entire technological stack.

Microsoft Authenticator might offer a more seamless and integrated experience if you depend significantly on Microsoft products like Microsoft Entra ID (Azure Active Directory), Microsoft 365, and other Microsoft services.

Conversely, Duo is a more flexible option if you use a variety of platforms and apps because of its wide range of compatibility and deep integration possibilities.

Easy integrations are available between Duo and a number of services, including Dropbox, Salesforce, Atlassian, Slack, and more.

The price models and how well they fit your finances and business needs should also be taken into account. While Microsoft Authenticator is usually included with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Entra ID subscriptions, the cost of Duo varies based on the features and support level selected.

In contrast to Microsoft’s pricing, which is more complex because it is bundled with Microsoft subscriptions, Duo’s price is more inclusive and clear. When evaluating the prices of different solutions, take the time to assess the unique requirements of your company and take the related expenses into account.

Lastly, consider how user-friendly and easy each service is to use. Although user experiences with Duo and Microsoft Authenticator are both smooth, preferences could differ depending on the tech stack, user base, and level of familiarity with each platform inside your company. To get a feel for each product, use the free versions that each solution offers. During testing, consider factors including ease of setup, ease of use for the authentication procedure, and any other features that improve usability.

To assess both systems’ functionality and suitability for your company’s needs, think about running a pilot test. This will enable you to obtain first-hand knowledge and input from administrators and users prior to making a final choice.

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