Enabling a cloud-first security approach to unify identity for secure app access from anywhere
applications enabled in two months to accelerate SSO access
IT helpdesk tickets for password-related issues such as password reset and provisioning
network security with unified identity for current and future apps
- Modernizing identity for cloud and on-premise apps
- Improving security with greater control
- Connecting remote employees with Single Sign-On
- Accelerate application innovation while improving security
- Automate workflows to streamline employee onboarding and offboarding
Unifying identity to manage access to enterprise data and apps is core to Trade Me's cloud-first security approach. The legacy way of working was an on-premise user directory that lacks support for cloud apps. As Trade Me moves into the cloud to accelerate its growth, it needs an identity service supporting cloud and on-premise apps from different vendors. Now, IT administrators gain a single view of users and apps with Okta as the cloud-based identity to provide employees with the right access to the right apps instead of juggling disparate identity providers.
Trade Me is fully equipped to operate in a hybrid working arrangement. With COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, employees have the option to work from home two days a week without any disruption with Okta Universal Directory, where they can access essential apps for day-to-day work.
Trade Me leverages Okta for Single Sign-On to deliver a seamless user experience for employees to access apps remotely. In addition, employees can verify their identity by approving push notifications on their mobile devices for secure access to all their apps instead of managing passwords for multiple apps.
Trade Me cut its approval time for application access from weeks to days by integrating applications with Okta service. In two short months, IT provisioned more than 100 applications from the Okta Integration Network catalogue that offer built-in SSO integration with more than 7,000 apps and growing. If an employee wants access to an app not included in the library, the request can easily be sent to the admin for approval.
Provisioning app access when employees join or leave the organization can be time-consuming for IT. Trade Me uses workflows with Okta Expression Language to automate business processes such as account provisioning and SSO access, so employees get the apps they need on their first day of work. That means IT can focus on delivering new products and services instead of keeping up with identity management.
“Our IT vision is cloud-first, accessible anywhere to grow the organisation seamlessly. Okta provides a single cloud identity across our apps and data so we can provide the employees with the right tools to work anywhere.”
Alex Boolieris, Technology Manager, Trade Me
Taking a secure, cloud-first approach for a flexible work environment
Did you know that more than 650,000 Kiwis visit Trade Me each day to buy and sell items? Since 1999, New Zealand’s leading online marketplace and classifieds site has served millions of Kiwis looking for anything from cars, jobs, to a screw for your washing machine.
Driving the success of Trade Me, a team of more than 500 employees work across multiple locations to help buyers and sellers find what they are looking for. Collectively, employees use more than 100 applications for work, from email and file sharing to customer support and HR.
“Our IT vision is cloud-first, accessible anywhere to grow the organisation seamlessly,” says Alex Boolieris, Technology Manager at Trade Me.“ Okta provides a single cloud identity across our apps and data so we can provide the employees with the right tools to work anywhere.”
Boolieris notes that key factors for selecting Okta as the identity provider includes vendor neutrality and native integration with commonly-used apps such as Google Workspace and Slack.
Trade Me deploys Okta products such as Single Sign-On, Universal Directory, and Multi-factor Authentication to unify identity and access management and integrates with more than 100 applications on Okta Integration Network for a cloud-first security approach. In addition, employees use the Okta Verify app for passwordless authentication to apps and data on the enterprise network.
Improving ease of access in the office and remotely
Previously, Trade Me maintained multiple directories for user names and other identity information. However, setting up Single Sign-On (SSO) with the traditional on-premise user directory was complex because it didn’t support cloud apps. Trade Me solves its identity problem with Okta Universal Directory to store app credentials in one place.
“Okta helps us improve security with greater control over who can access what resources,” says Boolieris. “Employees can easily login with a single identity to their apps and get work done, whether they are in the office or a remote location.” Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Trade Me operates a hybrid working arrangement, giving employees the option to work from home twice a week.
By logging into Okta’s SSO service, employees can access multiple apps with a single login instead of memorising dozens of passwords. Trade Me further enhances security with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent password guessing. For example, Okta delivers a push notification to the employee’s registered mobile device to approve or deny access with a single tap.
Trade Me plans to retire its on-prem directory for user profiles when it completes its cloud migration in June 2021. “We have full confidence in Okta Identity Cloud to correctly identify who should have access to what resources and control access to sensitive data for compliance purposes,” says Boolieris.
Simplifying IT operations with automation
As the company grows, IT has to balance business needs with its support functions. Using Okta, Trade Me rolled out SSO for more than 100 apps in two months instead of spending weeks on each app integration. In addition, Okta offers pre-built integration for more than 7,000 applications in its growing Okta Integration Network catalogue.
“With Okta, IT is no longer a bottleneck for critical resources,” says Boolieris. “Employees can easily add or request apps from the catalogue or reset passwords with a few simple clicks.”
As a company, Trade Me embraces innovation and encourages employees to think out-of-the-box. “By using Okta, we give business users the agility to trial and purchase new apps without losing security control,” says Boolieris.
For automation, Okta Lifecycle Management streamlines onboarding and offboarding so that the IT team can easily add and remove applications from employees’ virtual desktops. Trade Me also uses Okta Expression Language to create rules-based groups by adding attributes to a user profile. For example, when someone joins the marketing team, the person is automatically added to the appropriate marketing distribution groups and Slack channels.
“Okta is more than just a sign-on app. It is an identity platform that can streamline workflows. As a result, we’ve seen a significant reduction in IT workload by provisioning users on Okta while strengthening our security posture,” says Boolieris. “At the same time, new hires enjoy a better onboarding experience without waiting for IT to provide app access.”
Securing identity for the future workplace
Moving forward, the company plans to integrate its HR system with Okta to synchronise user profiles as employees join or leave the company. By doing so, Trade Me can help new hires get started quickly with necessary apps, such as Jira for project management, Google Workspace for productivity, and Slack for instant messaging.
“With Okta, we’re at a point where authentication for all our apps is very seamless and intuitive,” says Boolieris. “We continue to look to Okta as we focus on delivering new products and services for our customers.”
About Trade Me
Founded by young computer consultant Sam Morgan in March 1999, today Trade Me is a New Zealand icon and the nation’s largest online auction and classifieds site. An average of 650,000 Kiwis visit Trade Me every day to browse more than 8 million listings. The business employs 500+ people across Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.