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MFA Adoption: Experiences, Challenges and Perceptions of Multi-Factor Authentication

The good news is, MFA adoption rates are still on the rise: 79% of respondents report having experienced using 2FA in 2021, compared to 53% in 2019 and 28% in 2017. The number of MFA authentications with Duo also rose by 38% in 2022. That's a huge win for access security!

The bad news is, 38% of organizations still do not require MFA for their workforce by 38%, despite numerous regulatory compliance and cybersecurity insurance mandating its adoption. This gap highlights a significant opportunity for improvement in organizational security postures—but there's hope!

If you are considering upgrading your 2FA solution or adopting MFA for the first time, this blog post is for you. We'll explore the hurdles and benefits of MFA, drawing on experiences from Duo users in various industries to give you a realistic perspective of MFA adoption.

What are the challenges of MFA adoption?

Four common challenges of multi-factor authentication adoption are user resistance, usability, technical integration, and adoption costs. We'll explore these challenges enriched by the perspectives of real Duo MFA adopters across various industries.

User resistance

A common challenge organizations face when adopting MFA is often user resistance. People are creatures of habit, and introducing something new, like MFA, can feel like a wrench in their daily flow. It's crucial to communicate the benefits clearly and make the transition smooth with training and support to help everyone onboard.

Mike Johnson, former Lyft CISO says of Duo's user experience, "Duo has proven to be one of those rare solutions that both improves the security of our company while simultaneously being easier for our employees to use."


Even if your users are on board for MFA adoption, a complex, time-consuming authentication process could change their minds. 2FA users rated SMS-based passcodes as the easiest factor in 2021, yet it's also one of the least secure options. Duo's MFA factors offer both security and ease, so your users can spend their time moving your business forward.

Andrew Spencely, Cybersecurity Architect at University of Sunderland, comments on the importance of MFA usability in their Duo solution: "Security is often seen as a barrier by our users, and it is important to us that we remove that barrier whilst preserving our security posture."

Technical integration

Technical integration can also be a hurdle. Every organization has its own unique tech landscape, so fitting MFA into this without causing disruptions can be a challenge. When looking for an MFA solution, choose one that is compatible with your existing systems and scalable with various applications for future needs.

A security technical lead at a professional services firm speaks on the integration difficulties with their previous MFA solution before the firm switched to Duo: "Integrating that solution with other applications was possible only with external help and very secret knowledge about the solution and so on. It wasn’t straightforward.”

Adoption costs

When adopting MFA, one of the most significant challenges is cost. Upfront costs, software, authenticators, support, enrollment, maintenance, and surprise hidden costs can really add up. Check out our breakdown of the true MFA costs to better understand the price of adoption.

However, as demonstrated by Cisco's experience with Duo, the right MFA solution can lead to considerable cost savings. Cisco reported an impressive return on investment with Duo, achieving $3.4 million in annual employee productivity cost savings and $500,000 in annual IT Helpdesk cost savings. This suggests that while initial investment in MFA might seem high, the long-term benefits and savings can be substantial.

Is MFA hard to implement?

Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can vary in complexity depending on the vendor. Some MFA solutions present challenges due to their complex setup processes, high costs, or difficulty integrating with your current applications.

Duo offers a more streamlined approach. With Duo, businesses have experienced ease and speed in MFA adoption.

For easy MFA adoption, look for a solution that provides:

  • Deployment resources, such as strategy and planning guides for application rollout, user enrollment, security policies, and technical configuration

  • A knowledgeable support team of experts ready to assist you in the planning stage, during deployment, and beyond

  • Self-enrollment or automatic enrollment features for quick and simple user setup

  • Seamless integration with your current infrastructure, as well as diverse systems and applications

Does MFA adoption really help?

Forrester's Total Economic Impact report of Duo offers an excellent example of how MFA adoption can really benefit organizations. From a composite organization, the report found that MFA adoption significantly reduces the risk of security breaches (valued at $792,000), delivers a strong ROI of 159%, and achieves a net present value of $3.23M.

Duo MFA also enhances end-user experience, streamlines audit and regulatory compliance, and saves time for both end-users and help desk staff, leading to overall productivity improvements. Read the full report to see why MFA is a game-changer for secure, efficient, and profitable operations.

“Within the span of eight months we realized massive benefits. We observed a significant increase in productivity not only for users, but also for staff and faculty.” – Andrew Spenceley (University of Sunderland)

Ready to start your MFA adoption? Check out our Liftoff: Guide to Duo Deployment to start implementing multi-factor authentication adoption best practices today.