Okta Innovation: MFA, Proactive Security and a little Star Wars at our December Hackathon

At Okta, we pride ourselves on being the foundation for secure connections between people and technology. It's a job we take seriously and one that requires constant innovation. So to keep our engineers on our toes, we challenge them to push the envelope and create the next big idea — whether that's enhancing Okta's core platform service or developing a new feature to better serve our thousands of customers — at our quarterly hackathon.

Carrying on the tradition of our previous hackathons, last week we gave our 52 participants 72 hours, some snacks and challenged them to create either an innovation focused on product (enhancing existing functionality or dreaming up something entirely new) or engineering (improving internal processes among developer, test and operations teams).

In the end, our fearless (and sleepy) visionaries emerged with several award winning creations, and top teams walked away as victors and owners of a few nifty gadgets. First place winners for both engineering and product categories received the ever adorable BB-8 (of Star Wars fame), second place winners each received a pair of Sound Blaster Jam headphones and teams who took home the "Most Creative" and "Fresh Blood" awards each secured sleek JBL wireless speakers.

Check out the highlights and help us congratulate the winners:

Product Category:

Winner: "Desktop Login MFA" by Unmesh Vartak, Raghu Pamidimarri, and Srinivas Nagandla

Multi-factor authentication is on the rise and our winners created a product that enables Okta MFA to integrate with desktop logins.

Runner-Up: "OnePlace" by Shaolin Shen, Jimmy Chan, Jintai He, Rubin Jin and Yiyang Li

Okta users frequently visit their Okta homepages to access the apps they need. Our second place team built a system that unifies application contents from any app – recent calendar events, emails, notifications or documents – into their homepage.

Engineering Category:

Winner: "Image Recognition for Tapster Robot" by Naveen Keerthy and Sunil Thamatam

This team recognized the need for a more efficient way of comparing two images and obtaining the pixel coordinates. Their design enhances the automation experience with Tapster Robot.

Runner-Up: "Super Agent App" by Vinoth Jayaraman, Michael Huang, Preston Chan and Vijay Alexander

As our user base grows and requests increase, efficient scaling by optimizing existing hardware is always a goal. Team "Super Agent App" built a system that extends the capabilities of Okta's existing servers as it experiences increased requests, allowing the servers to do more with less.

Fresh Blood:

Winner: "OktaForm: Demo Cell on Demand" by Nicholas Key, Isaac Rivera, Nate Tate and Praveen Gubbi Prakash

The award that recognizes new engineering team members for creating inventive ideas early in their time at Okta went to Nicholas, Isaac, Nate and Parveen for creating a functionality that allows engineers to easily test the functionality of their codes instantly and with different configurations and tiers.

Most Creative:

Winner: "Proactive Administration Alerts" by Mark Sztainbok, Andrew Malone and Swasti Mishra

Mark, Andrew and Swasti's hack improves how administrators detect suspicious behavior by providing proactive alerts through email, SMS or push notifications.

Congratulations to not only our winners this quarter but all of this year's quarterly hackathon participants.

Interested in learning more about innovation at Okta, or want to show off your own coding prowess at our next hackathon? Head to our careers page to see our open positions. We'd love to hear from you!