Saving Lives with Okta, One Nonprofit at a Time

Many nonprofit organizations rely on us to make their IT departments more secure and efficient amid budget and resource restrictions. From connecting people with the apps they need to powering externally-facing member portals, these organizations use our service to ensure that their IT teams can easily manage access to the tools their constituents need to help their communities – wherever and whenever they need them.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 5.49.10 PM

We’re committed to continue working closely with these organizations by making the solution easy to implement and manage, and by offering specialized pricing in order to fit within their often restricted budgets. Our initiative, Okta for Good, also aims to empower nonprofits to adopt the technologies they need to succeed in their humanitarian missions. And we’ve seen that work grow substantially over the past year, now working with more than 100 nonprofits today – including The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For more than 50 years, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest nonprofit health organization dedicated to blood cancer, has funded life-saving cancer research, improved the quality of life for patients and advanced the diagnosis and treatment of these deadly diseases. Across North America, the team plans fundraising events, runs support groups, educates the community, funds research for new treatment methods and cures and, of course, provides care to the medical patients themselves. With so much to do in order to achieve their goal of curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, application log-in and data security needed to happen flawlessly.

We sat down with Justin Stanford, senior systems engineer, to see how Okta’s identity and mobility management solutions enable employees at LLS to spend their time saving lives – instead of struggling to access their cloud apps and worrying about securing their data.

Justin Stanford - Head Shot (1)What did your IT look like before Okta?

With more than 80 chapters in the United States and Canada, our employees offer easily accessible support and medical attention to those in need. But the majority of our locations don’t have IT staff. If we’re lucky, a building will have a savvy secretary who can help when technological issues arise, but that isn’t always the case. We don’t have any “boots on the ground,” so to speak. And we have to keep that in mind when we approach IT-related problems, especially when many of our 2,000 users are seasonal or temporary volunteers.

We began working in the cloud when prices came down and functionality went up. As a charitable organization, we’re price-sensitive to dollars we spend in the back office. We try to be a quick mover, but our adoptions have be done very carefully – evaluating cost, manageability and features very methodically.

As we adopted more and more cloud apps — including Webex, Box and Yammer and, more recently, Office 365, Concur and Lync — managing identity and security become a major concern. We tried a different single sign-on solution, but engineering issues left users frustrated and apps poorly maintained. That’s why we went in search of a new solution and came to select Okta.

What sets Okta apart from other solutions?

We ultimately decided to switch over to Okta because with our previous solution we weren’t receiving the level of support we needed when engineering issues arose. Any company can release a product, but, inevitably, for even the best of them, something goes wrong. When we at LLS have questions or needs that can’t be addressed quickly, it’s time to find another solution. I learned my lesson and put Okta’s support team through the ringer before before making the switch.

LLS logoNow, I’m able to have a great deal of trust in Okta. It’s not often that I’m excited to upgrade to new software versions, but with Okta, I know and trust that anything they come out with will be innovative and well-engineered. With most technology vendors, I’m nervous that a new system won’t implement properly, that new features won’t be an improvement or that they’ll interfere with old features. With Okta, I’m very confident in and eager for new releases. Because at the end of the day, end users and IT admins are really just looking for a solution they can trust.

How has Okta made life easier for IT?

Provisioning new employees with Okta is now a breeze. When a new employee comes on board, they have all of the apps they need straight out of the gate and ready to go. We’re no longer provisioning and deprovisioning employees manually, and that means were actually able to save two full-time positions.

What benefits do end users receive by using Okta’s new mobility management tool?

We really like Okta’s new mobility management solution, which allows you to open your apps on your smartphone. It seems like Okta really hit the gas pedal with this one. Many of the vendors I work with have a mobility management solution, but none of them are as integrated with what we do as Okta. When we provision new employees, they have all of the apps they need on their mobile phone right away. This is the first time that mobility management seems like a good fit with what I’m dealing with. I’m thrilled to be along for the ride at an early stage.

To hear more about the work LLS is doing with Okta, check out Justin’s full testimonial video or register for our live webinar with Justin on January 29, 2015 at 11am PT. For more information about how Okta is working with nonprofits, visit