January 28, 2011, 10:27 AM — A new security company created by former Salesforce.com executives began operations this week with an on-demand identity and access management service aimed at helping companies accelerate the adoption of cloud-based applications.
The company, called Okta, is based in San Francisco and led by CEO and co-founder Todd McKinnon, former head of engineering at Salesforce.com, and president and co-founder Frederic Kerrest, who worked in sales and business development at the software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider.
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The Okta service, Okta Application Network, allows organizations to centrally secure and control access to applications and provides end users with single sign-on for all Web applications. By integrating cloud applications with existing directory services, companies can control access across applications, quickly provision and de-provision employees, and centrally analyze usage across all applications.
Okta says the service offers hundreds of pre-integrated business and consumer applications from vendors such as ADP, Cisco, Citrix, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com and Twitter.
"SaaS applications have moved beyond initial deployments in departments and small teams to become mainstream, business critical applications," McKinnon says. "As a result, they now hold some of the most [important] data that a company has. CSOs and CISOs are not adequately addressing this concern today."
Enterasys Networks Inc., an early Okta customer, is using the service to manage access to more than 20 cloud applications. "We synchronize Okta with Active Directory to secure access to applications like Salesforce.com, Coupa, and BigMachines," says Benjamin Doyle, director of IT applications at Enterasys.
"A key user benefit is a consolidated dashboard view of the cloud applications that eliminates the need to remember multiple passwords and URLs," Doyle says. "Okta gives Enterasys IT the ability to easily manage and provision users and the ability to quickly de-provision users with one click. If a user is de-provisioned in Active Directory, access to cloud applications are automatically blocked by Okta."