Stop Reinventing the Wheel: The Remote Work Tools You Need Are Already Here

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How are you doing? For just about everyone, 2020 has been a fierce test of adaptability, flexibility, and resilience. This is especially true for those running businesses, as they’ve had to rethink their operations, goals, and ways of working and managing in the face of the pandemic. 

In the scramble to adjust and adapt to this new reality, shared challenges have emerged. Projects and long-held goals have been interrupted or abandoned. Productivity has taken a nosedive due to a lack of, or unfamiliarity with, productivity tools. IT security concerns have been at an all-time high, especially for places operating with on-prem tech infrastructure. Customer experiences have been disrupted all too frequently.   

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? 

Have you ever dreamed about an alternate reality, one with a painless transition to secure, productive home-based work; with an IT team focused on pushing your business forward, instead of putting out fires; with happy, supported customers?

In fact, the technology exists to make all of these hypothetical situations a new reality. Through the years, Okta has helped businesses large and small move quickly and modernize, adjust, and reduce IT friction. You don’t need to figure this out on your own.

Long before the pandemic hit, Okta was working with business to help them meet big goals—goals that are more relevant now than ever:

Office-level productivity, from anywhere 

“Business as usual” has changed in a big way. Some organizations have pivoted completely to remote work; others still operate out of an office. More often, a hybrid of the two has emerged, but a dynamic one that will continue to evolve. Okta customers have the advantage of agility, a huge benefit when COVID-19 hit. Most had already upgraded their legacy environments and adapted productivity boosting processes and modern SaaS apps. They were ready to adjust as required.  

Oxfam International, for example, approached Okta to find a secure way to enable affiliates and employees to access tools and services while in the field (how’s that for remote work?). Okta helped set up strong authentication and authorization, enabling access to shared resources—including productivity and collaboration apps—from anywhere. 

Collaboration company Slack worked with Okta to simplify from-anywhere access, but it also adopted Okta Workflows to boost productivity. Workflows streamlines a number of processes—for one, new employees can securely self-provision their first seven apps, meaning new hires can get to work right away, whether they’re in the office or at home.

Securing at-home and remote work 

One of the scariest parts of the quick switch to remote work is the need to do it quickly and securely. Data breaches are on the rise this year as bad actors take advantage of vulnerable IT environments in flux. Companies that had already implemented up-to-date security solutions for all devices and applications were well-positioned for the uncertainties of 2020.  

Blackhawk Network was in such a position. A global branded payment company in the highly regulated financial services sector, Blackhawk deployed Okta Single Sign-On (SSO) across all applications to strengthen password protection. The flexibility of Okta Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) permitted the company to meet different authentication requirements in different regions—all while reducing IT friction. Okta Universal Directory and Okta Lifecycle Management simplify and secure provisioning and deprovisioning.

With better visibility across all user activity, Blackhawk is able to proactively monitor for any suspicious activity, and act quickly in the unlikely event it occurs.  

Don’t abandon your other IT goals  

The effort required to transform work environments in the face of COVID-19 has taxed resources and stressed IT departments. Provisioning new users and workspaces, monitoring security, setting up new productivity and other SaaS apps, solving access and quality issues—it’s quite a workload.

Wouldn’t you rather your IT team focus on other, more strategic goals? Dubai Airports definitely did. The organization worked with Okta Professional Services to efficiently modernize its passenger experience and meet today’s security protocols. It was a complex project that involved integrating cloud-based apps with critical on-prem legacy apps. 

“Okta really eased the path of rolling out these applications as we move forward,” said Michael Ibbitson, Executive Vice President of Technology and Infrastructure at Dubai Airports of his experience with Okta Professional Services. “Okta has really contributed to the success of our overall team. This has significantly lowered day-to-day effort so IT can focus on finding the next exciting tool to implement.” 

Offer seamless customer experiences, no matter what 

Are your customers frustrated by new service protocols, long wait times, or inaccessible customer service? Has the customer experience fallen by the wayside as you try to keep your business moving forward? 

Some companies have already addressed the challenge of meeting customers where they are—just ask used-car retailer Carmax. The Okta Integration Network allowed Carmax to connect diverse applications and platforms, creating a secure foundation for their new omni-channel digital experience. Customers would be able to access information securely and simply at home, in the store, or anywhere else. When the pandemic hit, Carmax and Okta were part way through launching the new customer experience. The team accelerated deployment plans and rolled out to all customers—five months ahead of schedule. 

“When the pandemic hit, we were well positioned to evolve our business quickly to support how customers and the environment were changing,” says Shamim Mohammad, Carmax Chief IT Officer. “Okta provides the scale so we can provide the right customer experience.”


It’s good to know you’re not alone—and that you don’t need to know how to solve all the technical problems these uncertain times can throw your way. Many organizations of all sizes have overcome IT challenges to implement modern, agile, secure IT environments, both in the context of the global pandemic and well before. 

This is the first in a series that will delve deeper into how these organizations have resolved common IT pain points businesses are confronting in the face of COVID-19.

To learn more, contact Okta’s team of experts to discuss your organization’s particular requirements.