How Okta Premier Partner Atlas Identity Maps out Secure IAM Solutions for Its Clients

Founded in 2016, Atlas Identity specialises in delivering identity-as-a-service solutions for startups, SMEs and large businesses across the UK. In 2021, the London-headquartered business was made an Okta Premier Partner in recognition of the work it has done to grow its Okta business. 

Atlas Identity also generates a growing number of Okta licence sales. To discover more about how Atlas Identity developed its strong relationship with Okta, we spoke with its founder and managing director, Stephen Williams. 

Here he explains the ethos behind Atlas Identity, how he came to work so closely with Okta, and his future plans for the business.

Q: Hi Stephen, please could you begin by explaining Atlas Identity’s quest?

Atlas Identity focuses on enabling organisations of all shapes and sizes to deliver transformational improvements to their identity and access processes, acting as an honest and trusted expert in this field.

Our client base is very diverse. It ranges from local SMEs to large multinationals, but our approach is always the same. We believe it’s just as important to tell a client what not to do, as it is to guide them to the best technology for them. When we first meet a client we discuss their end-to-end process and then devise a flexible, long-term plan to meet their needs. This might include assessing existing identity problems and developing an identity and access management roadmap. Or it could mean deploying a new identity and access management solution, onboarding apps onto an identity service and/or advising on licences.

Q: How did you come to work so closely with Okta?

Well, I have always worked in the identity and access management space, and when I founded Atlas Identity I knew that I only wanted to work with cloud-first technology partners. It makes everything easier to set up and maintain. 

Initially, we worked with a few identity Software as a Service (SaaS) providers, but it soon became clear that Okta was much more capable of meeting our client’s needs. 

Q: How does Okta stand apart from the competition?

Okta offers multiple capabilities that truly excel. Integrations with HRs are a good example of this. Here, our clients benefit from having their HR systems integrated directly with Okta. Our clients are actively pushing to achieve the efficiencies that come from not having to update employee data manually within several systems, to onboard or offboard an employee. With Okta our client’s are able to source users directly from an HR system in a way that is consistent and rapid to deliver. Layering Okta Workflows on top of this, our clients can massively streamline their operations.

Q. You are seeing particular demand for Okta’s Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions at the moment, why do you think this is? 

We started out focusing on Single Sign-On to minimise password use for our client’s employees, but in recent years we have expanded to work with the full suite of Okta products as demand for this has grown. Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is in particular a popular use case right now. I think that’s because our clients have realised they can trust a 3rd party to keep their workforces secure, so now they are asking us to protect their customers and partners too. And once they’re happy with all their Okta deployments they ask us to manage their services.

Q. Do most of your clients build long-term relationships with you?

Yes. Client engagements typically start with us integrating 3-5 priority apps onto Okta with Multi-Factor Authentication and users ‘sourced’ from a trusted HR system or directory. With this foundation in place, our engagements expand to onboard more apps and to enable advanced security capabilities.At this point, a client usually enquires about other use cases, such as CIAM. What we’re seeing now is that clients are getting comfortable in starting with CIAM, then running a Workforce Identity project in parallel, or as a 2nd stage. 

A recent development I’m proud of is that many of our clients are asking us to provide a fully-managed service for their Okta deployment. This is a great indicator of our client’s level of trust in us, as well as the value we’re providing to their business.

The English Cricket Board (ECB) is one such returning client. It originally brought us in to secure its website for The Hundred cricket competition. The ECB then expanded the remit of our project, asking us to secure its shop and mobile app to get people into cricket grounds in a COVID-19-safe way. One match day, we had over 25,000 people going into Lord’s Cricket Ground with an app secured by Okta. Based on this successful project, the ECB has asked us to secure their entire set of web properties. 

Q. How did you go about building that level of trust with your clients?

It takes time to build, but it’s time we’re happy to invest. We settle any uncertainties from the start. As with any new technology, we often find that new clients have lots of questions regarding the stability and security of Okta’s products.

They want to know what happens if Okta ever “goes down”. I point them to the evidence at, where they can see that Okta is available 99.99% of the time and that its security certifications are all present and correct. This transparency alone gives our client’s a great deal of comfort.

We also provide evidence of our own successes in combating security breaches. Recently, a client had a major breach on one of its workforce systems, for example. Through Okta, we quickly secured that breach and made sure that it could not reoccur. That satisfied our client and its auditors.

Q. Finally, in 2021 Atlas Identity was promoted to Okta Premier Partner Status. How has that changed things for you?

I’m incredibly proud of this accolade. I believe it was recognition of a great deal of hard work that has been put in by my team, and our increasing value to Okta. As a result of this promotion we are now part of an inner circle that provides insight into Okta’s latest developments, early access to betas, and deeper access to Okta’s technical experts.

Next, we’re looking to further strengthen our relationship with Okta by creating complementary software add-ons. We’re creating our own solutions that build on, and enhance Okta’s capabilities, helping us to build on the trust and loyalty that we share with our clients and continuing to grow our Okta client base. 

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