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Deploying a Duo Proof of Concept

Last Updated: June 30th, 2022


Deploying a "proof-of-concept" installation takes just a few minutes, and is the best way to learn the basics of administering Duo two-factor authentication.


We strongly suggest deploying Duo to a small subset of users before releasing it to your entire user base. Deploying a "proof-of-concept" installation using this quick-start guide takes just a few minutes, and will familiarize you with Duo application administration, as well as Duo's bulk self-enrollment tool and new user policy features. Once you are comfortable with Duo administration, you can easily expand your pilot installation to protect additional users or services.

Proof of Concept Deployment

These proof-of-concept deployment steps accomplish the following:

  • You will have some proof-of-concept test users enrolled in Duo with 2FA devices.
  • You will have an application configured to add Duo authentication only for the enrolled test users. The rest of your users, who have not enrolled in Duo, continue to log in without two-factor authentication.

Here's how to set up your proof-of-concept:

  1. Log in to the Duo Admin Panel

  2. Invite the users participating in the two-factor proof of concept to enroll in Duo. To do this, click on Users in the left sidebar of the Duo Admin Panel. Now click the Bulk Enroll Users link at the top of the Users page.

    Bulk Enroll Button
  3. On the Bulk Enroll Users page, enter the usernames and email addresses of the participating users. These users will receive an email informing them that their administrator has requested they enroll in a two-factor authentication service. That email includes an individualized link so the user can enroll immediately. You can edit the text of this email. When you're ready to send the enrollment email, click the Send Enrollment Links button at the bottom of the page. See the Bulk Self-Enrollment documentation for more detailed instructions.

    Bulk Enroll Users
  4. Once these users click on the link in the email message and complete enrollment they'll be enrolled in Duo's service. These users will now be able to securely log in using Duo's two-factor authentication system.

    Bulk Enroll Users
  5. In the Duo Admin Panel click Applications in the left sidebar, and then click the Protect an Application button or the Protect an Application submenu item in the left sidebar. Alternatively, you can click the Add New... button in the top right of the Dashboard page and then click Application.

    Protect an Application
  6. Locate the type of application for your proof of concept from the list (you can filter the list by typing in a keyword), then click Protect this Application. You'll automatically be sent to the properties page for your new application. (See our Protecting Applications documentation for more details.)

    Filter Application List
  7. By default, all users are asked to enroll with Duo when they log in for the first time after installation. You'll want to change this behavior so that users who aren't part of the proof of concept will continue to log in normally. To change the default new user policy, go to the Policies page and edit the global policy. Locate the New User Policy in the editor and select Allow access without 2FA. Click the Save Policy button.

    New User Policy

    From now on, only users who are participating in the proof of concept and have completed enrollment (as in step 6) will be asked to provide secondary authentication. Unenrolled users — meaning users who do not exist in Duo — will log in as usual, with no two-factor authentication required.

  8. Configure your system, device, or application to use Duo two-factor authentication with the application created in step 6 using the documentation specific to your device or service. You'll typically find configuration instructions for that specific application linked from the application's details page in the Duo Admin Panel.

  9. Ask the newly enrolled proof-of-concept users to log in to the Duo protected service. They will now see the Duo prompt and be asked to complete secondary authentication. Unenrolled users will not be prompted for secondary authentication. Example browser-based Duo experiences shown below.

    Universal Prompt

    Traditional Prompt

     Duo Push in Universal Prompt

     Duo Push in Traditional Prompt

    Next Steps

    Expand your successful proof-of-concept by enrolling additional users with bulk enrollment, AD sync, or another method, adding additional applications to protect your other services, or exploring different policy options.

    When you're ready to protect all your users with Duo two-factor authentication, be sure to edit your application's properties to change the new user policy back to Require Enrollment (or to Deny Access if your preference is to email your users enrollment links instead of allowing them to self-enroll in Duo when logging in to your protected system).


    Need some help? Try searching our Knowledge Base articles or Community discussions. For further assistance, contact Support.