How Massdrop Solved its Identity Crisis with Okta

Like all start-ups, Massdrop started small. Really small. A-bunch-of-Canadian-guys-working-out-of-a-house small. But their concept was huge, and it didn’t take long for Massdrop’s e-commerce site to take off. That success isn’t surprising, since the idea behind the retail site is truly innovative—it allows individuals to join interest-based communities like “Audiophile,” “Tech,” and “Ultralight” and connect with people from around the world to buy products together, share experiences, and help design custom gear you won’t find anywhere else.

As customers flocked to the site, Massdrop added staff, suppliers, and apps to accommodate the growth. But the company was lacking an in-house IT department and knew things would become unmanageable if it didn’t bring an IT specialist on board. Aaron Zander was hired to fill the role of senior IT administrator, and he quickly pinpointed a number of challenges. In particular, Massdrop needed to streamline its identity management processes, strengthen security, and increase productivity with a single sign-on solution.

Putting together the pieces There was another small complication that Zander needed to address—Massdrop is a cloud-first organization without any server infrastructure at all, so installing an LDAP server didn’t make sense. “I was ready to try to figure this out,” says Zander. “I didn't want to spin up an LDAP server or go without a directory. I needed a tool that was going to be able to be my directory.”

With that in mind, Zander put together a list of basic requirements that included:

  • An end-to-end solution for managing users

  • Access control for external apps and tools

  • Targeted access to internally created tools

  • A strong, well documented API

  • Integration with BambooHR

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) on-demand, or all the time depending on the user

After shopping around, Zander realized the Okta Identity Cloud was the clear choice for Massdrop. Okta Lifecycle Management would make onboarding and offboarding a breeze and solve its identity challenge. Universal Directory would allow Zander to completely avoid LDAP and AD servers. Single Sign-On would make it easy for employees to access all their apps, and MFA would take care of Zander’s security concerns.

“Okta has better API documentation, better developer tools, and a better developer form,” says Zander. “Our developers liked it more than any other product.”

Better yet, Okta’s professional services team kept the entire implementation process running smoothly from beginning to end.

Living the dream Now that Okta’s in place, Massdrop is operating like a well-oiled, money-saving machine.

Employees seamlessly access more than 68 applications, including G Suite, Periscope, BambooHR, Zendesk, Basecamp, and RingCentral. Manual provisioning and deprovisioning tasks have been virtually eliminated (and so have those pesky leftover identities), an improvement that’s already saved Massdrop $16K. And they’ve saved an additional $60K in employee productivity by enabling self-service password resets and improving app access and provisioning. "Now, we use Okta as an IDP and allow it to spider out to everything else,” says Zander. “We use Okta's tools to control it all, and to set everyone up for success with a lot of ease."

Now, Zander is rolling out Oktas MFA, enhancing security at Massdrop while giving users unprecedented flexibility—they can choose from Verify with Push, SMS, and Google Authenticator.

Thanks to these changes and more, Massdrop is a leaner organization that’s ready to adapt to just about anything. And with an ROI of 600% in the first year alone, it’s clear Massdrop’s customers aren’t the only ones saving money anymore.

To learn more about how Massdrop uses the Okta Identity Cloud to save time and money, check out the full customer journey or watch the video below.