How the Okta Identity Cloud Helped the FCC Leave its Legacy (Programs) Behind

Adapting to changes in technology can be a challenge for government agencies with a host of legacy systems, sprawling on-prem infrastructure, and industry stakeholders and private citizens to serve. For the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the situation was no different. Founded by Congress in June 1934, the FCC came into existence before the dawn of the digital age. Over time, the FCC built on-prem infrastructure and developed programs—and these served the agency well for a long time. But technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years. With improved efficiency, reduced costs, and matchless security in mind, the agency decided it was time to modernize.

The FCC brought on contractors Dustin Laun and Byron Caswell as senior security strategy advisors to lead the way.

They were tasked with:

  • increasing security

  • improving the processes involved in provisioning and deprovisioning the myriad of digital identities belonging to employees, contractors, partners, and members of the public

  • streamlining applications and systems

Moving on up (to the cloud) After assessing the situation, Laun and Caswell realized they needed to move the FCC to the cloud. The change would make it possible to improve security, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness by allowing the FCC to embrace best-of breed technologies at scale.

With the vision and guidance of CIO David Bray and senior strategic advisor Tony Summerlin, Laun and Caswell decided to re-haul the FCC’s technology stack. Their plan was to rely mainly on SaaS solutions, and fill any remaining gaps with add-ons and custom technology. With security a top priority, Laun and Caswell knew implementing an identity management solution with multi-factor authentication would be critical to pull everything together—and solve the FCC’s security and identity challenges.

They carefully considered all their options, but in the end, the Okta Identity Cloud was the clear winner. They implemented a full range of Okta products, including:

· Single Sign-On (SSO), which allows easy access to apps like Box, Office 365, and ServiceNow.

· Okta Lifecycle Management, which automates the provisioning and deprovisioning process.

· Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), which adds an extra layer of security to all of the FCC’s apps.

“We have a licensing app,” says Laun. “There are approximately 2 million individuals logging in to apply for licenses. Okta actually enables the external world to interact with the FCC without applications, and ensures there are some authorization components to that.”

Okta was able to address all of Dustin and Laun’s technology concerns for the FCC. And Okta is pursuing FedRAMP certification—which was an extremely important consideration. But there was another benefit too: Okta saved the agency significant amounts of money—about six times less than existing on-prem infrastructure.

“Where Okta came in for the FCC specifically was at a reasonable cost,” says Caswell. “It gave us the ability to offload some of the identity management problems we had, and to scale seamlessly as we move more and more services onto cloud platforms.”

An easy transition Phasing out legacy programs and on-prem infrastructure solved a lot of problems for the FCC, and it didn’t take long for employees to adapt to the new technology. Laun and Caswell were able to roll out the new technology quickly and without incident, which eased the transition getting employees onboard and educating internal and external users.

“Okta was one of those very quick things, those very important things that we could use to swing over old services from Legacy Exchange to Office 365,” says Caswell. “Managing identity with Okta helped us do a more seamless swing-over without having to worry about a lot of the problems you get with hosting in the AD tenant.”

Now that the FCC has left most of its legacy programs behind, it’s more efficient, secure, and cost effective. And when you’re talking about a government agency responsible for our country’s ability to communicate, that’s a good thing for everyone.

To learn more about how the FCC used Okta to save money, increase security, and streamline processes, check out the full customer journey or watch the video below.