Two-factor authentication Trends

Two-factor authentication is an integral part of access management. It serves as the first line of defence against data breaches and it is expected to rise in organization-wide deployment over the next two years. The majority of IT leaders already manage 2FA centrally for all their enterprise applications, be they cloud, VPNs, VDI, web portals or mobile applications.


Currently, the vast majority of those surveyed say that their organization uses two-factor authentication to protect the below applications.

  • Mobile applications (31%) and enterprise applications (30%) are the areas where four or more of these applications are most likely to be protected by two-factor authentication.
  • Two-factor authentication is widely used and becoming a more mature method of authentication, however it is still surprising that not all respondents have adopted it wherever possible.

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Almost all respondents expect that their organization’s use of two-factor authentication will expand in the future.

  • Around six in ten (61%) think that this will happen within the next year – this is the biggest proportion over the last three years (47%, 55% and 48% respectively).
  • This ongoing feeling that two-factor authentication use will increase shows that it could be a long road to reach the end of the journey and that organizations will have to keep increasing and improving their use of two-factor authentication.

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On average, just under two thirds of respondents’ organizations’ employees use a username and password as an authentication method, although this has dropped slightly compared to the last two years (69% and 68% respectively).

  • But, all other authentication methods are being used more in 2018/19 (31%-39% respectively) than they were in 2017 (27%-35% respectively).
  • This shows a movement away from more traditional and risky authentication methods, to more advanced and secure methods; organizations should aim to keep this trend going over the next few years, or they could find themselves susceptible to cyber risks.

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Around half of users within respondents’ organizations will use biometric authentication in two years, on average.

  • A similar proportion will be using software tokens (49%), hardware tokens (47%) and/or smart SSO (46%).
  • This shows that these authentication methods are likely to see a big rise in usage over the next two years and should reduce the risk of organizations being subject to a successful cyber-attack.

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Over nine in ten respondents see two-factor authentication for cloud applications as being conducive to facilitating cloud adoption.

  • Of the few who do not feel that this is the case, around three in ten say that it is because it’s too difficult to implement (31%) and/or two-factor authentication technology isn’t advanced enough (29%).
  • Cloud adoption could increase rapidly with cloud access management and two-factor authentication paving the way; in particular, the use of two-factor authentication is set to increase and this may be the push that organizations need to delve deeper in cloud.

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