RSA Adaptive Authentication can be implemented to provide a stronger multi-factor authentication than only user name and password authentication against Active Directory. Adaptive Authentication monitors and authenticates user login attempts based on risk levels and policies.

When Adaptive Authentication is enabled, the risk indicators specified in the risk policies set up in the RSA Policy Management application and the VMware Identity Manager service configuration of adaptive authentication are used to determine whether a user is authenticated with user name and password or whether additional information is needed to authenticate the user.

Supported RSA Adaptive Authentication Methods of Authentication

The RSA Adaptive Authentication strong authentication methods supported in the VMware Identity Manager service are out-of-band authentication via phone, email, or SMS text message and challenge questions. You enable on the service the methods of RSA Adaptive Auth that can be provided. RSA Adaptive Auth policies determine which secondary authentication method is used.

Out-of-band authentication is a process that requires an additional verification be sent along with the username and password. When users enroll in the RSA Adaptive Authentication server, they provide an email address, a phone number, or both, depending on the server configuration. When additional verification is required, RSA adaptive authentication server sends a one-time passcode through the provided channel. Users enter that passcode along with their user name and password.

Challenge questions require the user to answer a series of questions when they enroll in the RSA Adaptive Authentication server. You can configure how many enrollment questions to ask and the number of challenge questions to present on the login page.

Enrolling Users with RSA Adaptive Authentication Server

Users must be provisioned in the RSA Adaptive Authentication database in order to use adaptive authentication for authentication. Users are added to the RSA Adaptive Authentication database when they log in the first time with their user name and password. Depending on how you configured RSA Adaptive Authentication in the service, when users log in, they can be asked to provide their email address, phone number, text messaging service number (SMS), or they might be asked to set up responses to challenge questions.


RSA Adaptive Authentication does not allow for international characters in user names. If you intend to allow multi-byte characters in the user names, contact RSA support to configure RSA Adaptive Authentication and RSA Authentication Manager.