As our company grew, more departments and more specialized teams were created. We needed a way to allow people seamless access to servers, while also implementing granular role-based controls. We realized that whatever this next phase of server access was, it needed to tie into Okta some way.Senior Security Operations Engineer
Growing while helping others grow
Centered on helping clients clearly communicate brand identity, the company began as a small side project in 2001 and has since provided an easily customizable marketing platform for small businesses. It gives customers the tools to produce beautiful, professional marketing campaigns in a matter of minutes.
Since its inception, the company has exceeded its goals. As it helped small businesses grow, it saw tremendous growth itself, eventually becoming a $600 million business serving more than 20 million customers worldwide without ever taking an outside investment.
Rapid growth doesn’t come without challenges. With nearly 1,000 employees across the US and a large amount of hardware for the team to manage, the company needed a way to evolve access to its infrastructure in a simple, flexible way, without compromising on security.
Traditional ways of managing employee access are simply no longer feasible. The senior security operations engineer explains, “As our company grew, more departments and more specialized teams were created. We needed a way to allow people seamless access to servers, while also implementing granular role-based controls."
The traditional method of using shared credentials and shared accounts becomes unfeasible at scale. Not only is it resource intensive to manually track and manage employee credentials, it also creates more surface area for potential attacks. It’s more difficult and less secure at the same time. The company’s goal was to configure security controls within their infrastructure once and then let automation take over, using the flexibility of a more elastic infrastructure to ease the pain of quickly onboarding new employees.
Secure growth with Zero Trust principles
To remain on the cutting edge of its industry, the company needs to have the best security practices in place. The proliferation of mobile and cloud technologies have dissolved traditional network perimeters, making people—and their identities—the single control point across users, devices, and networks.
That’s why, in 2017, the company teamed up with Okta to implement its Zero Trust strategy, streamlining access controls across its business applications and APIs while also layering on Multi-Factor Authentication for additional security. Using Okta Lifecycle Management, it was able to automate employee provisioning and deprovisioning workflows for their business-critical applications, making sure that only the right people have access to the right resources.
As the company continued to grow, the next move was obvious. “Our IT department had already been an Okta customer and we’d already been using Okta for identity management across other parts of the company. We realized that whatever this next phase of server access was, it needed to tie into Okta some way. We needed to leverage Okta’s products and services.”
“And it just so happened that around the time we were having those conversations about leveraging Okta’s platform, it was announced that Okta had acquired ScaleFT, ” states the senior security operations engineer.
It knew ScaleFT was a pioneering Zero Trust startup dedicated to advanced access management solutions. With news of the acquisition, the company didn’t waste any time reaching out to Okta to hear the details.
Weeks later, it became one of the first Okta customers to adopt Advanced Server Access, a strengthened Okta offering thanks to the acquisition of ScaleFT.
Secure growth is exactly what the company achieved with Okta’s Advanced Server Access—a Zero Trust-based architecture for cloud infrastructure that streamlines core Okta authentication workflows to Linux and Windows servers via Secure Shell and Remote Desktop Protocol. Advanced Server Access eased the pain of the company’s rapid growth while making its authentication process more secure than ever before.
Where traditional methods of mitigating credential theft place all the emphasis on ‘protecting the keys’ by vaulting or rotating credentials, Advanced Server Access tackles the issue at its core through a revolutionary ephemeral credential mechanism that creates short-lived, tightly-scoped client certificates for each authenticated and authorized request. In other words, granting access is a just-in-time decision, with no credential cleanup needed.
Advanced Server Access easily integrates into the company’s existing Okta tenant where assigned users and groups are automatically provisioned to the downstream servers. Via streamlined automation between Okta and the server fleet, any changes in user status or group membership are automatically reflected on the servers near instantly without any manual intervention.
“It was simple to take the components of the new Okta product and drop it into our existing infrastructure without a ton of extra work,” says the senior security operations engineer.
Pioneering Advanced Server Access
As a leader in its industry, it only makes sense that people want to use the company’s products to market their small business. With close to 14,000 new customers a day, only the most advanced, automated, and cloud-based infrastructure would meet the company’s requirements.
“Okta’s Advanced Server Access fits our needs really well. It’s allowing us to take the Okta Identity Cloud and configure our infrastructure identity and access controls directly for a lot more flexibility,” explains the senior security operations engineer.
That flexibility comes in large part from automation. Growth on the level that the company has experienced means that using static credentials and shared accounts no longer works. It simply isn’t scalable.
But with Advanced Server Access, identity and access controls can be configured once and then baked into the automation across the entire infrastructure fleet. Shifting to an identity-led approach doesn’t just mean reducing the attack surface area, it also means reducing the pain of managing disparate access management products.
As the company continues to provide high-quality marketing tools to small businesses around the world, they’ll be securing employee access with a Zero Trust-based, identity-led platform. Not only will they have full visibility and control over who has access to what resources, they’ll also be able to track that access across the entire user lifecycle.
With Okta, trust is no longer a binary decision based on being in the network or possessing a credential. It's now a dynamic process based on your identity, your device, and your location at a point in time. And Advanced Server Access isn’t just more secure, it also means that with a one-time configuration of security controls, the company can let automation take over so that adding employees is quick and easy.
With Advanced Server Access, the company’s continued growth will be painless and secure.
Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the company specializes as a marketing automation platform and email marketing service for small businesses. Beginning as a small side project, it is still 100% founder-owned and serves millions of customers worldwide, providing beautifully designed layouts on a platform that works with a multitude of apps and software programs.