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What Problems Does Okta Access Gateway Solve? We’ll Tell You.

Frederico Hakamine
Frederico Hakamine
Sr. Technical Product Marketing Manager

Back in 1968, Boston Consulting Group founder Bruce Henderson wrote that “all organizations, like all organisms, must adapt to changes in their environment, or die.” Now, some 51 years later, these words ring truer than ever.

Moving away from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud has become a must for most organizations—but facing and deploying that change can be daunting. It’s a move that requires constant attention and monitoring to ensure that as the organization adopts and integrates with new cloud-based applications, it still remains secure. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy.

In 2018, 57% of data breaches were a result of exploited vulnerabilities that had existing patches—they just hadn’t been implemented yet. On top of that, 34% of these companies knew they were vulnerable before the breach occurred. 

In traditional organizational infrastructure, legacy Access Management solutions pose a major stumbling block as businesses move towards the cloud. Ultimately, they operate outdated security systems and policies that leave them vulnerable to data breaches.

The need for change in access gateways

Access gateways enable IT administrators to provide users with remote or guest entry to their on-premises web applications. This typically includes controlling access to the network, authenticating users, and restricting who can access specific apps and URLs using authorization policies. 

However, providing secure access to apps becomes more difficult as businesses adopt a hybrid cloud approach—which requires security considerations for apps hosted both on-premises and in the cloud.

Organizations typically don’t have a single, comprehensive identity provider (IdP) to help them protect these hybrid environments. On the one hand, legacy Web Access Management (WAM) solutions don’t support cloud apps effectively; and on the other, newer Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions don’t integrate well with traditional on-premises systems, leaving organizations in a security conundrum.

Addressing the needs of today’s businesses

Understanding that cloud migration won’t happen overnight, there’s a need for access gateway solutions that bring together the integrated access management of cloud and on-premises apps. These solutions help enterprises with the following:

  • Building modern access security into any app regardless of whether it’s on-prem or in the cloud.
  • Enabling modern security policies in all environments, be it multi-cloud or hybrid cloud.
  • Providing template-based integration for on-premises apps.
  • Preventing changes in on-premises apps to support standards-based integrations like SAML or Open ID Connect.
  • Using a single Identity Provider to control access to any web application regardless of its hosting modality: on-premises, in the cloud, hybrid IT, or multi-cloud. 

Enter Okta Access Gateway

Okta Access Gateway (OAG) differs from other options in the marketplace as it allows businesses to apply modern security solutions, such as single sign-on and multi-factor authentication, to their on-premises infrastructure.

OAG offers easy cloud-based protection without businesses having to change how their on-prem apps work. Combined with Okta's Single Sign-On, it provides centralized, unified, and simple access to all apps, while reducing the complexity of managing separate password and authentication policies across on-premises and cloud resources.

This hybrid approach bridges the gap between an enterprise’s cloud identity and its on-premises applications in a variety of ways:

  • For on-premises purposes, OAG connects to apps using integrations that are natively supported, such as header-based, URL, and Windows authentication.
  • On the cloud side, it integrates seamlessly with Okta Single Sign-On, providing a unified access to on-prem and modern apps using secure standards broadly adopted by SaaS platforms.
  • OAG provides a native app catalog of out-of-the-box integrations with popular on-premises solutions that simplify the delivery of SSO and MFA.
  • OAG also helps businesses by collapsing their WAM infrastructure, improving security with consistent policies, and minimizing vendor risk by migrating from on-premises SSO solutions.

OAG enables businesses to transition away from on-premises infrastructure without the painstaking process of changing how those apps work. By using Okta as the single IdP for their increasingly complex IT environments, businesses will be able to make the necessary changes to adapt to the modern era of cloud adoption.

For more information on how OAG can secure access to on-premises apps and protect your hybrid cloud download our Okta Access Gateway datasheet

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Frederico Hakamine
Sr. Technical Product Marketing Manager

Frederico is a jack of all trades and master of none. He has been designing, developing, customizing, and breaking systems for more than 10 years in the field. Frederico spends his time at Okta developing code and promoting the Okta Platform and APIs. In his spare time, he cracks some code for his wife's startup and works on silly projects like his own beer and music.