The number of businesses affected by data breaches has risen over the years, showcasing that passwords alone fail to provide enough security for your applications and online accounts.

With both small and big businesses falling victim to these data leaks and security violations, software engineers developed authentication security measures to ensure zero trust security for all businesses. Authy and Google Authenticator are two popular two-factor authentication tools that do just that.

Authy vs. Google Authenticator: Comparison table

Twilio’s Authy is a mobile two-factor authentication app that strengthens online security by sending a one-time password to your mobile or desktop device. It directly syncs with websites and services to grant user access and is completely free.

SEE: Checklist: Network and systems security (TechRepublic Premium)

Another popular authenticator app is Google Authenticator. A leading authentication option, Google Authenticator is available on both iOS and Android and has gained wide adoption by many websites and applications.

Like other dual-factor authentication tools, Google Authenticator enables the generation of time-based codes to gain access to online accounts.

Google Authenticator
Supported platforms
Android and iOS
Android and iOS
Backup and syncing
Automatic synchronization across authorized devices
Manual accounts transfer from one device to another
Security capabilities
Works offline
Authentication options
SMS or voice call; Time-based one-time password; push notifications
TOTP; HMAC-based one-time password
For more information
Visit Authy
Visit Google Authenticator

Authy and Google Authenticator pricing

Both Authy and Google Authenticator are free authentication apps and can be downloaded on popular app stores and software marketplaces.

Feature comparison: Authy vs. Google Authenticator

Supported platforms

While Authy used to have desktop support for their authenticator, its Linux, macOS and Windows applications were recently shut down on March 19, 2024. Right now, Authy is only available via Android and iOS as a mobile application.

Like Authy, Google Authenticator does not have a web or desktop version and is only available through iOS and Android.

Backup and syncing

Authy allows you to back up data and syncs your two-factor authentication account tokens across numerous devices. The backup feature of the app, which is one of its most important features, supports the encryption and recovery of backed up accounts from their server. As long as you enable the multi-device feature in the Authy authenticator app, there is no fear about getting back your Authy tokens, even when you lose your device.

Google Authenticator also allows users to transfer their accounts to a new device, provided the old device is available. Google Authenticator also recently added the ability to back up one-time codes to users’ Google accounts.

Security capabilities

It’s critical that your authenticator app is protected with a pin or password to avoid situations where bad actors can easily access the app. To do this, Authy uses a PIN and biometric authentication system to secure data from unauthorized use.

This ensures that anyone without your Authy password or pin will not have access to the tokens generated from the app. Authy also encrypts all backups, ensuring your data is safe from hackers. In addition, if a user loses their device, cloud-based backups enable them to access their credentials safely on another device with ease.

On the other hand, while Google Authenticator offers quality security, it misses out on this important security feature. If a device is lost or stolen, Google Authenticator can put your data in danger because it lacks passcodes or biometric sign-on alternatives to prevent an unauthorized user from gaining access.

Authy pros and cons

Pros of Authy

  • PIN-protected application.
  • All data is encrypted.
  • Fingerprint sign-in included.

Cons of Authy

  • Desktop support was recently shut down.

Google Authenticator pros and cons

Pros of Google Authenticator

  • Wide adoption amongst popular services.
  • Works well with Google suite of apps and devices.
  • Intuitive and easy to use.

Cons of Google Authenticator

  • Lack of biometric login and locking.

Should your organization use Authy or Google Authenticator?

Whether you run a small business or a larger organization, some situations warrant the need to grant employees access to essential systems and information. But granting access to sensitive information without additional security measures can be risky. Thus, using 2FA can help businesses make remote access to company sources safe and secure.

While Authy and Google Authenticator are both quality authenticator apps, certain factors should be considered before adopting one over the other.

Google Authenticator is a good choice for anyone seeking a straightforward and easy-to-use tool. At the same time, users who prefer a higher protection level in the two-factor authentication process can do the same. However, keep in mind that anyone who can crack the phone can get access to your Google Authenticator app.

Authy, on the other hand, improves the security of authentication codes by allowing users to PIN-protect the app. Furthermore, Authy is ideal for customers that switch phones regularly or want the program to be synchronized across numerous devices. Because all data is encrypted, your codes will not be stolen as they move between the device and the cloud.

Review methodology

Both Authy and Google Authenticator were assessed in terms of their authentication capabilities. In particular, we looked at how both handled in-app security, OTP backups and syncing, multi-device support, among others.

This article was originally written by Franklin Okeke and was updated by Luis Millares to reflect feature changes made since this article’s original publication.

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This is your go-to resource for the latest news and tips on the following topics and more, XaaS, AWS, Microsoft Azure, DevOps, virtualization, the hybrid cloud, and cloud security. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays