Identity Securer Okta Expands Into Mobility Management

Okta has built upon a highly regarded cloud-based identity platform and will automate end-to-end scenarios in a way that wasn't possible previously.

Okta, a highly regarded new-gen enterprise identity management cloud service, is going mobile. If that isn't enough, the company also is strengthening its multifactor authentication package.

The San Francisco-based cloud service this week released its Mobility Management package, which formally enters Okta into the $4 billion market for enterprise mobility management. The company made the announcements Nov. 11 at its Oktane conference in San Francisco.

The mobility management market is not for the faint of heart. Okta enters a battle zone that already includes such well-known names as SAP, Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, Good Technology, NaviSite and a spate of others.

Okta, however, takes a different approach from the conventional MDM methods deployed by the well-known service providers. Whereas most mobile management providers construct their systems starting with the enterprise and branching out, "we have developed ours completely with the end-user/device perspective in mind," CEO and founder Todd McKinnon told eWEEK.

Building Upon Its Identity Platform

Okta already has its highly regarded cloud-based identity platform to automate end-to-end scenarios in a way that was never possible previously, McKinnon said. "So it was a natural to build our MDM solution right into what we'd already built," he said.

Okta positions its Mobility Management suite as the first integrated identity management and mobility management service. Key features include:

-- Integrated identity and mobility management: Okta Mobility Management provides a single-access management layer across the enterprise cloud to keep users productive in any context; it also gives IT control from the directory to the browser to the mobile device.

For example, some of Okta's customers use it to automate application provisioning through its integration with human resource systems, such as Workday. When an employee joins the company and their Okta account is created, all of their applications are automatically provisioned based on profile data collected in the HR system. Okta Mobility Management also provisions or deprovisions native mobile apps to any managed devices without disruption to personal applications or data.

If an employee is terminated, Okta Mobility Management automates the deprovisioning process, selectively removes managed apps and data from devices, or executes a complete factory reset.

-- Improved mobile security: Okta protects corporate data on mobile devices by enforcing device passcode policies, controlling data sharing between applications, selectively removing managed apps and data from devices, or remotely executing complete factory resets of devices. Should an employee leave the company, corporate data and applications are wiped from the device, leaving all personal data untouched. In addition, through Okta Mobility Management, Okta now has the intelligence about the device in the same system where access policy and control decisions are enforced. So if a device is jailbroken, doesn't have the right version of software installed on it or is just unknown, IT can block access.

-- Increases user productivity: Okta enables secure user access to applications on any type of mobile device. As users enroll their device, Okta Mobility Management automatically configures and installs the appropriate catalog of applications. All native and/or Web versions of those applications are available in the Okta Mobile application and made accessible via single sign on with a single click. When users reset their password, Okta Mobility Management automatically updates the password in the mobile client on the device, preventing lockouts, help desk calls and user frustration.

Okta Mobility Management is available for iOS and Android devices now. The company already has multiple customers, including leading food production and distribution company Del Monte Foods, collaboration technology startup LoopUp and cloud communications company Twilio.

Okta is priced on a per user/per month basis with support for unlimited devices. It is in the development phase for Windows and BlackBerry, with delivery expected in Q3 2015. For more information, go here.

Updating, Reinforcing Multifactor Mechanism

The company also announced that it is reinforcing its multifactor authentication package.

Okta Verify now can address more complex scenarios without specialized integrations or configurations. Users can implement Okta Verify across an entire organization or, more specifically, target certain applications, internal users, external contractors or partners. IT managers also can use Okta Verify for specific events, such as differentiating authentication processes for people accessing apps from home, at work or on the road.

Additionally, using the Okta API, customers can embed this functionality directly into their applications as increased security for their own service.

For more information on Okta's enhanced MFA solution, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...