The Modern Enterprise, Mobility and External Identity: Thoughts from Gartner Catalyst

Gartner Catalyst is always a great opportunity to talk through the challenges modern enterprises face — and how identity can help solve those challenges. And this year’s event was no different.

Increased cloud and mobile adoption are the usual suspects, but a new wrinkle was on everybody’s mind this year: managing the identities of “non-employees,” including customers and partners. It’s official: External identity management is a thing.

gartner catalystWith more companies adopting cloud and mobile — and collaborating with each other — there’s a real need to manage the identities of contractors, vendors, partners and customers. External IAM is clearly a topic that enterprises are beginning to grapple with. At Okta, we’re already working on this challenge.

We have hundreds of customers who use Okta to manage and secure internal employees’ identities, and an increasingly large number of them rely on us to help manage external identities, too. Take Ellucian, for example. The company, which provides a portfolio of technology solutions to educational institution, presented at Catalyst about how they’ve used Okta to build their external-facing education portal.

The increasingly complex, interconnected and mobile business web has also blurred the lines of cloud-based IAM. One presentation at Catalyst showed that federation vendors are now being asked to handle user provisioning, governance solutions are being tasked with federation … and on and on.

The problems we’re solving (authentication, provisioning, etc.) are old, but the difference is that we’re solving these problems in a new way because the cloud enables a more centralized solution. Companies can say goodbye to fragmented connectors and heavily customized (and expensive) solutions, and hello to easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy solutions such as Okta.

It’s clear after hanging around Catalyst that the pressures of mobile, cloud and external collaboration continue to challenge modern enterprises — and that the identity layer is critical in helping enterprises navigate this evolving and interconnected world.

There’s no telling what’s in store for Catalyst 2014, but you can be sure Okta will be on the leading edge.