Okta Security

Background information on Okta

Okta Inc is an identity and access management company, which is publicly traded and based in San Francisco. It offers cloud software that helps businesses to secure and manage user authentication into applications. It also gives developers the ability to build identity controls into devices, web services, and applications.

The company was founded in 2009 by Frederic Kerrest and Todd McKinnon. The pair had joined forces after working together at Salesforce. 

At present, the company sells multiple products which include: Access Gateway, Lifecycle Management, Multi-factor Authentication, B2B Integration, User Management, Authentication, API Access Management, Advanced Server Access (formerly ScaleFT), Universal Directory, and Single Sign-On.

Okta ranks highly in identity and access management

For the fifth consecutive year, Okta has been named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for access management. Okta placed at the top of the quadrant along with Ping, Microsoft, Forgerock, and OneLogin, so there are other options to consider as well.

A number of enterprise companies across the world make the most of Okta to power their access management, including Hitachi, Takeda, T-Mobile, and Major League Baseball.

Understanding what Okta is and how it works

Okta is an identity provider which adds authorization and authentication services to your applications. You can make scalable authentication built-in to your application without the development overhead, maintenance, and operational costs that come from creating it yourself.

With Okta, you have the ability to connect any application on any stack or in any language. You can also define the way in which you want users to sign in. Every time a user attempts to authenticate, Okta will verify their identity and send the required information back to your app.

You can connect your apps using the API or SDKs, as well as customize your sign-in page, configure rules, add users, and monitor your services.

How Okta is used

There are a number of different situations whereby Okta may be helpful, including the following:

You want to implement Single Sign-On (SSO)

If you have a number of applications and you wish to implement SSO, Okta is a good choice. It is possible to use Okta to enable your users to sign into different applications, instead of needing them to remember separate sets of credentials for every service or application. Instead, users are able to sign in once, and then they can access your entire application suite as allowed.

You want to add authorization and authentication to your API

You can secure your APIs and application backends using Okta so that only authorized applications and users can call them. Configure policies, define scopes, and determine who can have access to your API resources.

You want to add authorization and authentication to your application

You can utilize Okta to enable your users to sign in with a username and password set or with their social accounts, for example, Facebook or Google, using the pre-built components which Okta provides. Once the user has signed in, you can retrieve the user profile to customize the UI based on their role and apply your authorization policies.

You want to manage user access on your application

You can use the UI for Okta to remove or add users, troubleshoot user sign-in problems, and modify authorization and profile attributes. You can sync users from a whole host of different services, user stores, and third-party applications. However, while Okta provides you with one place for managing your users and their data, keep in mind it’s not always easy to get to or understand.

You want to use an existing enterprise directory to federate your users

You can also utilize Okta to enable users to sign in to the numerous third-party and internal applications using their existing enterprise credentials or via LDAP or Active Directory (AD) servers.

You want to implement multifactor authentication (MFA)

A final example of when Okta makes a lot of sense is if you wish to implement multifactor authentication (MFA) for security. You can use Okta to enable this second level of security. You can implement the Okta Verify app, biometrics, voice, email, SMS, and so on for every sign-in, or you can configure policies so that MFA is only enforced based on a device context, network, and location. For example, you can enforce MFA only if the user signs in from a new device that is in a different country than your office.

Identity security with Okta + Oort

While there are many benefits associated with using Okta, there is still a lot to consider from an identity security perspective. Identity and access management (IAM) is a function that often spans both security and IT teams, so you will want to decide where Okta sits within your organization. However, the reality is that people alone can’t detect and respond to identity threats, so regardless of who owns Okta in your organization, they’ll need a lot of help to secure your identities at enterprise scale.

Oort makes identity security easy with a drop-in solution that detects and responds to identity threats in Okta and other identity providers. Our identity security platform provides a fast, powerful way to get visibility and take action on latent identity threats such as inactive users, accounts with no MFA configured, and more than a dozen identity security checks across your organization.  

If you would like to find out more about the Oort identity security platform, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can fill out the online form on our website or you can even try Oort for free. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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