Okta Lifecycle Management Roadmap: Conquering the Extended Enterprise

“The only constant in life is change.” While this quote dates back some 2,500 years ago to Ancient Greece, it perhaps ring true now more than ever—particularly with the speed and scale at which we’re witnessing technological change. Over the past few decades, the way we live, work, and communicate has been reshaped by our rapidly-transforming technologies, which have given us the capacity to do so much more with a great deal less.

This has had a significant impact on organizations, which have had to constantly adjust to disruptions to their industries. Traditional network perimeters and IT security are no longer enough with employees using modern cloud applications that allow them to work at anytime, from anywhere on any device. IT departments are struggling to control increasingly number of cloud applications. Many time-honored identity and access management solutions are simply not equipped to manage secure access for enterprises that have embraced cloud and mobility—meaning organizations lose track of who has access to different systems and documents across the enterprise. This has created what you might call an “identity debt”—similar to the concept of tech debt—and organizations need to deal with it, finding solutions that allow them the freedom to embrace the latest apps and tools while keeping track of user access across their systems.

Choosing an identity and access management strategy

When it comes to choosing an identity and access solution, organizations can take a few different paths. They can choose a decentralized model where authentication is managed by each application; settle for an on-premises centralized solution; or opt to take advantage of the benefits a cloud-based platform has to offer. A decentralized model will only increase the level of identity debt, and implementing an on-premises solution is time consuming and complex—not to mention the significant overhead it adds to managing daily IT operations. A centralized cloud-based identity platform has all the features and benefits needed to meet today’s authentication requirements and is easy to implement—and, because it is managed by a third-party, the burden on the IT department falls away.

At Okta, we know that identity solutions need to be agile and efficient while helping organizations to reduce their identity debt as they scale. That’s why our lifecycle management roadmap focuses on three core pillars: building a single source of the truth; automating the user lifecycle; and simplifying the integration between apps, workflows, and identity management.

Building a single source of truth

The Okta Identity Cloud helps organizations modernize IT, build customer experiences, and prevent their systems from being compromised. As a cloud-based identity solution, Okta not only provides the freedom and agility organizations need in order to stay ahead, it also gives them the ability to consolidate and manage all their users, groups, and devices in one location through its Universal Directory (UD). This helps organizations consolidate identity assets in one place and prevent any future identity debt, as all necessary services are managed by a leading cloud platform.

What’s next: Okta’s long-term vision is to allow organizations to connect to any system of record—no matter whether it’s on-prem or in the cloud—to build a single source of truth. As we figure out how to quickly and easily allow organizations to sync with existing directories and make this process simple and out-of-the-box, we’re also looking to create one, centralized cloud directory where users can store all identities.

Furthermore, to help companies better leverage the Universal Directory, we’ve changed restrictions around user profiles: we’re supporting more flexible usernames, adding enumerated values (for instance, allowing organizations to set attributes by employees’ roles); supporting relationships between two users in UD; and more.

Automating the user lifecycle

With the interconnected nature of modern IT architecture, the complexity involved in managing identity for multiple applications and services can become overwhelming. Okta helps organizations reduce this complexity with Lifecycle Management, which is built into the Okta Identity Cloud. This service creates a more fluid user lifecycle for an organization’s internal and external users, automating rules, policies, and workflows; as a result, it helps reduce manual work, increase compliance, and enhance overall security.

What’s next: At Okta, we’re always looking to help organizations automate more of the lifecycle process. That’s why we’re adding functionality based on our customers’ feedback. For starters, we’re looking to change the application request flow; we’re currently considering how to delegate and escalate approval requests, giving users quicker access to the systems they need.

We’re also looking to evolve our rules, or “conditions and actions” to drive more automation across the user lifecycle. For example, say you have external users that have been inactive for 90 days. Currently, if you wanted to delete them from your system, you would have to do so manually. With conditions and actions, you can set up an automated process that suspends accounts automatically after a 90-day period.

Best-of-breed integrations

Connecting all apps and workflows using best-of-breed identity integrations is another way Okta helps organizations diminish identity debt and increase their overall capabilities. The Okta Integration Network (OIN) has over 5,500 pre-built integrations into a variety of cloud and on-premises applications. This solution helps organizations not only deploy a consolidated identity service much faster, but also unlock new value from existing IT systems, which increases their overall return on investment.

What’s new: The OIN is growing. We now have more than 140 provisioning applications in the OIN—and we’re adding new System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) integrations every month. This will make it even easier for user identities to be shared securely between identity providers and service providers, and help to facilitate more seamless integrations across the network.

Let Okta take care of identity debt

The future is exciting—as these new features roll out, we plan to help you reduce identity debt even more effectively. By replacing legacy identity services with the Okta Identity Cloud, you can build a single source of truth, automate user lifecycles, and take advantage of Okta’s best-of-breed integrations. And because Okta is managing your identity, the risk of incurring any identity debt moving forward is no longer an issue—you can stop worrying about change, and concentrate on what matters most to your organization.

Learn more about Okta Lifecycle Management here.