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Buyer's Guide
Authentication Systems
June 2022
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Ronnie Scott - PeerSpot reviewer
CTO at Charter
Reseller
Expanded our security posture, but needed better integration with our application stack
Pros and Cons
  • "It was a simple way of providing two-factor authentication for remote access when we hit the COVID pandemic. It was very easy and quick to get it going."
  • "We found it difficult to integrate it into our broader product family of Microsoft tools and other applications used across our organization."

What is our primary use case?

Primarily, it was used as remote access for VPNs. It expanded our security posture, due to the increase in people working from home.

How has it helped my organization?

It certainly gave us a much more confident security posture as far as users coming on. 

Having all resources be external is reasonably important for us. Zero trust is certainly a target. Not that we are there yet, but we would expect everything to be considered mostly untrusted.

It eliminated trust for remote access, but not from inside our organization.

It was a simple way of providing two-factor authentication for remote access when we hit the COVID pandemic. It was very easy and quick to get it going.

What is most valuable?

Simple authentication for VPN was our primary function, and it worked well for that.

As far as remote access, simple access, and authentication to gateways, it was perfect.

Distributed access for ISE has been pretty strong for remote access and works very well.

It has very strong network connectivity, which works reliably and well. It was very easy for people to connect and the app worked as it should. Just once people connected, they typically had to use a different tool from that point on.

Duo applies and maintains well network connectivity across campus and remote locations. Remote access from people's homes and branches is also strong. Network connectivity is its strength and does that well.

What needs improvement?

We found it difficult to integrate it into our broader product family of Microsoft tools and other applications used across our organization. So, we have pulled back from this solution a little bit. It was easier to use Microsoft MFA, which integrated with everything and still did the two-factor authentication that we needed. 

There is nothing wrong with the product, as far as its functionality. It was just the breadth of support. It got harder and harder to integrate.

For what it does, it is fantastic. Once we started hitting Microsoft Office stacks, we then began to find its limitations.

It is not so good for securing access to our application and network. We found it harder to integrate, particularly with the Office stack, which is our primary application stack. We did get it working with a few other cloud applications that we were working with as part of our single sign-on story. However, it certainly wasn't easy to integrate in-house.

It created another step for users who don't know about the benefits, as far as the corporate benefits. I wouldn't consider having another app on their phones and having another thing to deal with a positive for our user community.

For how long have I used the solution?

My organization has been using it for about two and a half to three years, since around the beginning of the pandemic.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability was good. It was well-designed and simple to implement. Its cloud interaction went very well. We never had any major stability issues. Yeah. We had nothing to complain about regarding its operational functionality.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are a relatively small shop. It was well within our sizing. We never saw any issues with scaling. Obviously, the indications would be that it will scale very well, but nothing we had to experience with.

How are customer service and support?

We didn't encounter the technical support much. Things worked very well. Functionality and reliability were never a problem. 

We asked a few questions about integration and so on. I think we got good answers back. We have had no big complaints, but we didn't have a lot of interaction with them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use another solution. We brought Duo in as a tool that we could rapidly and easily deploy. It did that job. We actually removed it later, as our primary tool, because we could achieve what we needed with a more integrated single multi-function tool (Microsoft MFA).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Duo brings in another application for users to deal with. Whereas, Microsoft integrates with their single authentication stack, allowing us to handle their own personal banking accounts and personal two-factor authentication needs in one app. This isn't Duo's strength, and it's not what we see Google and Microsoft doing out in the cloud.

Single-pane-of-glass management is important for us, but not critical, because fewer management points are better. Duo didn't provide a single pane of glass because of our different application stacks. Whereas, at least Microsoft Authenticator has allowed us to deal with most applications as well as their deep integration with Office.

Duo needs to adopt the same kinds of concepts that we see from all the major authentication tools, such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, third-party password tools like Bitwarden, and Secret Server from Delinea. All of these are beginning to incorporate more functions into them as a single security tool,  protecting me with authentication codes and six-digit codes that interact with Google, Microsoft, and any of those vendors as part of the tool. There are more functions, fewer tools, and less user impact, which are all benefits. I don't think Duo showed us that as a single tool. Duo did its job really well, but there are many jobs that have to be done.

What other advice do I have?

Resilience security is all about business continuity. Resilience is an expected function of that, which is necessary and not optional.

For businesses wanting to build more resilience, I would say, "Keep it simple," and fewer moving parts is better. That is one of the reasons that we ultimately moved away from Duo. Not because anything was wrong with it, but we could collapse two functions down into one. I think simplicity is really critical. It reduces the amount of time our staff has to spend on it, making things easier. Simplicity would be my number one reason for building resilience into an organization. It allows you to understand better how you are dealing with threats and more simply respond to threats.

We are a valued reseller who works with Cisco and other vendors. We are primarily a Cisco networking shop across eight locations with 120-odd users who are mostly working from home or at least part-time working from home post-COVID. We have two major offices, a small data center, and five other locations, which are all remote access, using Cisco DMVPN. Microsoft is the application stack that we primarily use, plus cloud applications, and Juniper Mist for our wireless.

I would rate it as seven out of 10. In the world of network security, it is outstanding and very strong. I have a lot of positive things to say. I think that it needs to be much more seamlessly integrated with today's application stack.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
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Buyer's Guide
Authentication Systems
June 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Fortinet, RSA, and other competitors of Microsoft Authenticator. Updated: June 2022.
610,812 professionals have used our research since 2012.