Ciao: Building the workplace of the future with seamless office space reservations

2 weeks

from first contact to full Okta integration

Over 100% growth every quarter

since implementing Okta

Unlimited scalability

to enable secure workplace reservations for customer employees worldwide

  • Turning offices into destinations
  • Selecting a pitch-perfect partner
  • Connecting customers to the new way of working
  • Scaling up on a secure foundation
  • Empowering employees with a productivity hub
Turning offices into destinations

To help businesses safeguard their employees’ return to the office during COVID-19, Ciao (Check In And Out) developed a desk booking software that enables employers to use their office space more effectively without risk of transmissions. To grow the business and pitch this solution to high-end multinational corporations, Ciao needed to back it up with a strong identity and access management solution.

Selecting a pitch-perfect partner

Considering the requirements of its high-security customer base, Ciao knew that its application needed to fulfil two essential demands: secure access management of the Ciao API, and seamless integration with any number of federated identity providers. Okta covered both bases, topped with quick support and compliance with all necessary security and privacy frameworks, including GDPR.

Connecting customers to the new way of working

Ciao secures its API with API Access Management and connects companies that use other identity providers with Enterprise Federation, cultivating trust with prospective customers in Ciao's security and adaptability. With a simple login experience for Ciao users, both administrators and their employees, Ciao makes onboarding a breeze and builds stronger user engagement.

Scaling up on a secure foundation

By taking identity management off their hands, Okta empowers Ciao's team to increase the speed of development and build better features, faster. When pitching the flex office software to prospective new customers, Ciao can preemptively address security and compatibility concerns, opening up business opportunities with large, multinational corporations.

Empowering employees with a productivity hub

Thinking beyond COVID-19, Ciao has broadened the scope of their tool, evolving it into an integration hub for businesses that gives employees more choices for their day-to-day working lives. From parking slots to the perfect office temperature: giving employees more options means connecting the Ciao platform to more services, and Okta will facilitate simple and secure integrations in the future.

Getting our users signed up and logged in is a core necessity for our application, not a feature, but user management alone could take months to master. Okta takes it off our hands, enabling us to spend our valuable developer time and resources improving our solution.

Celia Felipe, CEO & Co-Founder, Ciao


  • Enables developers to focus on the user experience by reducing IT workloads with a reliable, automated identity and access management solution
  • Contributes towards a strong pitch to high-security customers, safeguarding API access and access to production and development environments
  • Multiplies the number of potential customers, ensuring seamless integrations even with businesses that use other identity providers or Active Directory
  • Delights customers with simple and secure self-serve logins and password resets

Picture your perfect workplace. Are you alone or around people? Is it warm or breezy? How many screens do you need, and are you seated or standing? Maybe your preferences change by the day? Sadly, this sort of flexibility isn’t the strongest suit of office buildings. In fact, 85% of employees report feeling like their workplace environment is inadequate and hinders their productivity, while 93% of workers in the tech industry say they’d stay longer at a company that offers healthier workspace options.

To retain the best talent and meet employee needs, businesses are rethinking their approaches to workplace management. Thankfully, Ciao is already a few steps further: With its workplace management platform, the Utrecht-based startup is changing the way offices work, giving employees more control over their work environments while keeping them on track for business success.

As a solution developed in response to the challenges of COVID-19, Ciao also helps businesses safeguard their employees’ return to the office. While employers can use the application to leverage their office space more effectively without risk of transmissions, employees can use it to safely reserve spaces that match their preferences.

To match this security promise with an equally secure identity and access management solution, Ciao turned to Okta. The Ciao software needs to handle employee data with the highest security precautions, while integrating seamlessly with a variety of identity management setups. With a range of out-of-the-box solutions, Okta ticks both boxes.

“For the high-end customers we’re targeting to consider our software, we need to have tight security and privacy protections in place, and comply with numerous frameworks, like GDPR,” says Alphons Mulders, Co-Founder of Ciao. “Okta does all that for us, and its reputation for security resonates well with our potential customers, which really helps our pitch,” he explains of the decision.

Support was another area where Okta stood out. “Okta’s response times are short, and our developers really valued the easy access to the Okta team,” says Alphons. “When we needed advice, we just jumped on a call, and within the day we had access to an entire team. That’s why we managed to implement Okta in just 2 weeks.”

Building trust with secure access and seamless connectivity

Today, live and ready to scale, Ciao consists of two applications: a management console for businesses to configure their available offices and workspaces, set up different zones and workstations, and define the rules, and a web and mobile app for employees to reserve desks or meeting rooms. In both applications, Okta handles Authentication, Authorization, and User Management. When users forget passwords, Okta enables a quick and secure reset process, without burdening IT support at Ciao.

“Simplicity is essential for the success of our application, and the feedback we get is that Okta is very intuitive and easy to use,” says Alphons. “And by processing all sensitive user information for us, Okta strengthens our security approach, ensuring that no personal information is stored by Ciao.”

Some potential customers look closely at the way Ciao handles user management internally, too. By leveraging Okta’s workforce solutions, Ciao eliminates the threat of unauthorised access to key applications like Salesforce and the AWS Management Console.

“Some of our clients have many questions about our security standards and the way we safeguard our production and development processes,” says Alphons. “By using Okta’s Single Sign-On and Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication with Okta Verify for our employees and external contractors, we can ensure that our environments are completely secure, which helps us gain the trust of current and prospective clients.”

Scaling up from a secure foundation

This strong security approach is crucial for Ciao's next move: getting their product on the map. One of its customers is Colliers, a commercial real estate services organisation with 20,000 employees worldwide. Colliers is currently using Ciao’s desk booking software for its 350 employees in the Netherlands. With Okta’s dynamic scalability, expanding the solution within the worldwide Colliers organisation would be simple. And Okta’s simple but powerful onboarding capabilities are vital for Alphons and his team to pitch Ciao to other large companies, too.

“Our customers often tend to already have corporate identity solutions in place,” explains Alphons. “A simple provisioning process, even for companies with other identity providers or Active Directory, is essential. Okta’s Enterprise Federation lets us onboard these companies with little additional effort, saving time while making our solution more attractive to potential customers.”

Meanwhile, for maximum adaptability, Ciao designed their software as an open system, enabling businesses to configure it as they please. If they want to use their own tools and applications to leverage Ciao's functionality, they can integrate the Ciao API, which they secure with API Access Management.

Building a happiness hub for tomorrow’s workplace

Much like the workspace of the future, Ciao's product is always evolving and needs to adapt to new demands and developments easily. By automating the identity management process, Okta empowers Ciao's lean IT crew to be more reactive to customer needs.

“Getting our users signed up and logged in is a core necessity for our application, not a feature, but user management alone could take months to master,” says Celia Felipe, CEO & Co-Founder at Ciao. “Okta takes it off our hands, enabling us to spend our valuable developer time and resources improving our solution.”

These improvements can have big impacts. To further help companies prioritise the health of their employees, for example, Ciao added a contact tracing feature to its application. When an employee tests positive, with one click the Ciao application can identify everyone who has been in the proximity of that employee (three severity levels: same zone, same floor, same office). People who are potentially impacted can then be informed.

Thinking beyond COVID-19, the Ciao team envisions providing their product as a workplace productivity hub, empowering employees to start and end their workdays with as much choice and agency as possible, while improving office capacity for employers.

“We’re really broadening the scope of our application to prepare for the new hybrid working environment,” says Alphons. “That means, Ciao will become increasingly interconnected with other systems and services, and to keep everything secure, we’ll continue to count on Okta.”