Okta is a rare beast. They keep things simple. In their own words, their products are ‘the foundation for secure connections between people and technology.’
The company is an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) provider. Put simply, IDaaS means that some or all of a service is being provided to a company through a remote connection from a third-party provider. The easiest example we can all understand is email.
Outlook is stored locally on your own computer so if your laptop is stolen or you leave it on the train or in a cab, it’s all gone. Gmail on the other hand is cloud-based so if your computer falls foul to the same fate, you can still log-in to Gmail from your phone or tablet with a web connection.
What Okta do is ensure that the connections to the applications that businesses use every day are completely secure. With over 5,500 app integrations ‘there’s a good chance we can connect anyone that touches your organisation to any technology they want to use.’
Last month we wrote about the pros and cons of remote working and with more and more of the workforce working some or all of the time away from the office and the security that provides, the services that Okta provide are now no longer a ‘maybe’ for IT managers. They are an ‘absolutely.’
Textbook Silicon Valley…
Okta is a classic Silicon Valley cliché. The company was founded in January 2009 by two early employees of Salesforce – Todd McKinnon, the current CEO and COO Frederic Kerrest. What’s interesting (and not at all cliché) about the origins of the company is that Salesforce, run by tech powerhouse, author and philanthropist Marc Benioff, have a consistent track record in investing in the start-ups of former employees but he decided against investing in Okta. Not that he had anything against McKinnon and Kerrest, he simply didn’t believe in the idea.
Julie Bort of UK Business Insider picks up the story; ‘With little support, the two of them started with nothing and had to do all the initial programming themselves. But after they signed on their first customers, hundreds, and then thousands of cloud app companies began coming to them. Andreessen Horowitz invested and Okta soon became a Silicon Valley VC darling, hitting a “unicorn” valuation of over $1 billion in 2015.’*
She continues; ‘In late 2017, the company had a successful IPO. Sales have been beating expectations and the stock price has doubled since then. Okta now has over 4,300 customers, 33,000 developers are building apps on its platform, and it hit $260 million in revenue last year.’
‘THOUSANDS OF CLOUD APP COMPANIES BEGAN COMING TO THEM.’
That’s when you know you’ve got a business.
*Today, that $1 billion valuation is more like $5.5 billion.
Why Should You Use Okta?
As with virtually every technology company, Okta aren’t alone in the IDaaS space and as consumers in a free market economy, we have the freedom of choice. Every one of them, big or small, will tell you precisely what you want to hear – ‘we’re the best, the cheapest, the most secure, the most trusted… yada yada yada…’ and that’s OK. Every one of the needs to make a noise, but as we always say, the best testimonials are the voices of satisfied end-users and Okta have some heavyweight end-users…
- Experian chose Okta as the identity layer to power the delivery of data services through new applications and APIs. Sixteen thousand employees are connected and Okta replaced six disparate identity management technologies.
- After going mobile to help employees stay in touch, Eurostar’s IT team chose Okta to simplify the handling of digital information and applications. 100% of users leverage ‘any device, anywhere’ access; the company achieved a 300% ROI and they realised over £300,000 in annual savings.
- The HR team at MGM Resorts added cloud solutions such as Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand and NeoCase to their toolkit in under three weeks which allowed 62,000 employees to access the apps they need.
- Adobe used Okta to undertake a monumental business and technological shift, turning Creative Suite into Creative Cloud, taking just nine months to deliver enterprise-ready authentication. Now thousands of companies use Okta to access Adobe Creative Cloud and 21,000 employees use Okta for SSO into 300 enterprise apps.
- 20th Century Fox recognised the need to simplify and scale cloud application provisioning for internal and external teams and now over 200 companies involved from content creation to content distribution for $200m blockbusters are connected into the Fox digital supply chain with Okta.
- Nasdaq’s legacy identity solution requires error-prone manual processes to unify security controls across platforms and included bad password habits, risky workarounds and unhappy users. Nasdaq uses Okta to offer over 5,000 employees and contractors one set of credentials across all their applications. With a single solution, the company addresses security, reliability, and usability issues.
Okta’s technology makes employees more productive, partners and stakeholders more engaged and confident and customers happier. What more do you need to know…
Have a good week.