Okta: Identity Foundation for Office 365 Adoption

Over the last year, enterprises have adopted Office 365 in droves. It’s a trend that is only accelerating over time as more companies look to fully harness the power of the cloud. As with all cloud applications, customers expect to derive value from Office 365 as quickly as possible, looking for the best user experience across desktop, web, and mobile devices. And, as email is a company’s most mission-critical application, security for Office 365 is paramount. One of the most important steps IT leaders need to consider is how their Office 365 deployment will tie back to Active Directory or other identity infrastructure. In addition, the shift to modern authentication, or Azure AD Authentication Library (ADAL), is a big change for Office thick clients to authenticate Office 365.

Okta, a San Francisco-based company, provides a solution that securely ties Office 365 back to Active Directory (AD), without the hardware, software, configuration and maintenance required by Microsoft’s Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). The company powers thousands of Office 365 deployments, a testament to Okta not only decreasing risk in Office 365 go-lives, but also supporting new authentication mechanisms.

Okta’s vision is to enable any company to use any technology. The company launched its cloud-based identity and access management solution in 2009, marking the birth of the Identity as a Service (IDaaS) market. While Okta’s first products addressed the pain of accessing and managing cloud and web applications, Okta has added a host of new products to its portfolio over the years.

Today, Okta offers products for single-sign on, provisioning, adaptive multi-factor authentication, directory services (including its own Universal Directory), enterprise mobility management, and a comprehensive identity platform on which companies like Adobe, Rotary International, Etihad Airways, and others are building their own cloud applications and digital experiences for consumers.
All of these products ultimately feed Okta’s ambition to be the foundation for IT leaders to establish secure connections between people–employees, partners, customers-and technology of any kind.

Securely connecting the workforce to Office 365 is a great example. In fact, it’s the most common scenario that Okta helps its customers with. Combining its cloud-based identity solution with Office 365, Okta makes it easy for enterprises to roll out Office 365 to employees. Okta enables enterprises with AD to swiftly and securely extend employee identity to Office 365 without ADFS or Directory Synchronization (DirSync), making IT more efficient. As a modern identity service, Okta works in real-time, minimizing user disruptions and enhancing security.

Take Post Holdings, for example. The American consumer packaged goods holding company needed a foundational IT solution equipped to handle its aggressive M&A strategy, rapidly bringing on new companies and building immediate shareholder value. When Post Holdings implemented Office 365, they had just acquired 11 companies, bringing on hundreds of new employees. Post Holdings encountered challenges with ADFS and DirSync related to timing and scale. The company approached Okta and deployed Office 365 across an initial 1,700-user base in six weeks from start to finish—data collection to final sign-off. Since then, Post has completed 11 total migrations ranging from 1,000 to 1,700 users.

Office 365 is usually just a starting point for enterprises’ broader cloud strategies. With thousands of applications integrated to its application network, Okta has also helped thousands of companies across all industries rapidly and securely adopt the collection of tools that make them most effective—from cloud-based HR solutions and expense apps to CRM and communications tools.

Okta Inc

San Francisco, CA

Todd McKinnon, CEO and Co-Founder Frederic Kerrest, COO & Co-Founder

Embracing the cloud with Office 365, Okta provides an identity foundation for quick and secure adoption.