Personalization & Identity: Building Blocks for the Ultimate Guest Experience at MGM Resorts
to stand up an HR system in the cloud
MGM Resorts employees using Okta to log into enterprise apps
of restful sleep every night for MGM Resorts’ CISO
- HR moves to the cloud
- Internal identity management
- The cloud takes hold
- A security cornerstone
- A strategy to cover millions
MGM Resorts' human resources team adds cloud solutions, such as Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand, and NeoCase, to their toolkit.
In just a few weeks, Okta connects MGM Resorts' HR solutions onto one identity platform so that 62,000 employees can access what they need easily.
After the success of its HR project, the demand for cloud apps grows and MGM Resorts adds apps to its identity portal at a quick pace.
CISO Scott Howitt realizes he can build an entire security strategy around identity and access management. He extends the Okta platform to MGM Resorts growing number of mobile devices.
MGM Resorts begins plans to extend its identity platform to its loyalty program, M life—bringing stronger, simpler security to millions of patrons around the world.
Simple as pie
MGM Resorts had chosen Okta to connect several cloud-based HR systems to a single user provisioning platform, and when CISO Scott Howitt saw the timeline, he did a double-take. Within a matter of weeks, Okta made user provisioning for MGM Resorts' new cloud-based HR system simple as pie for 62,000 employees.
[Okta] is one of the things that I can put in my toolkit to say, ‘Hey, we're gonna move faster because we have this identity component nailed.'
Scott Howitt, CISO, MGM Resorts International
A new CISO takes on MGM Resorts
If you’ve been to Las Vegas, you know MGM Resorts International. As one of the world’s largest gaming, hospitality, and entertainment companies, it’s the big name behind such destination brands as the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and The Mirage.
Over the years, MGM Resorts built a complex IT environment that included corporate machines, personal devices, kiosks, and home-grown and purchased applications—all housed in a large on-prem infrastructure. Heading into this decade, MGM Resorts began adding cloud services, such as Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand, and NeoCase, to the mix.
When Scott Howitt walked on to his new job as chief information security officer in the Spring of 2015, identity management wasn’t the first thing on his mind. Yes, he had some experience with Okta at his previous company, and was glad to see that his new team had Okta lined up for a human resources project. But identity was just one of a hundred concerns on his list.
Howitt had a lot on his mind: Protecting the information systems of 20 popular resorts. Keeping employees safe and productive. Helping the company deliver customized service to millions of visitors, while also protecting the privacy and property of those visitors.
MGM Resorts had chosen Okta to connect several cloud-based HR systems to a single user provisioning platform, and when Howitt saw the timeline, he did a double-take. Within a matter of weeks, Okta made user provisioning for MGM Resorts new cloud-based HR system simple as pie for 62,000 employees.
“I’ve been involved with two identity access management programs before and it had been a multi-year effort,” he says. Getting that initial user load up and running within weeks? That was impressive.
When another department wanted to bring a new project management solution in house, Howitt agreed to extend the Okta platform, adding the new solution to the new MGM Resorts identity portal.
The solution was up and running within a few days, and Howitt was seriously hooked. “That’s something I had not experienced before, ever,” he says. “[The new app] was just there. It was easy. The next day, it popped up on the menu.”
By this time, Howitt was starting to realize that he could cross identity off of his list of concerns. After sitting down with the Okta leadership team, he could see they were setting MGM Resorts up with identity management that would evolve with whatever the future held, be it smartphones, smart panels, or new-fangled widgets.
“If the brand new iPhone … comes out and I’m unprepared to react to it, Okta will be, because that’s what they do all day long,” he says. “Okta can be the partner that adapts with us.”
A CISO finds his cornerstone
Howitt was starting to understand something else, as well: He could build an entire security strategy around identity and access management.
For example: Mobility. MGM Resorts manages a growing number of mobile devices, including those that associates use when they’re cleaning rooms, doing checkouts, and so forth. Today, Okta is helping the MGM Resorts team connect all those devices, and the applications that reside on them, to a single, cloud-based identity platform.
From experience, Howitt knows that traditional mobile device management solutions are fraught with problems. With Okta, he sees another solution. “If I manage identity well on the device,” he says, “how much mobility device management do I really need?”
Extending the platform to patrons
In addition to 62,000 employees, MGM Resorts interacts every day with millions of patrons through its loyalty program, M life. That program helps the company provide customized service from the moment patrons walk through the doors. It also facilitates a rewards program which, for a gaming company, translates to loyalty points with some serious dollar values.
The loyalty program presents a security challenge that Howitt is eager to solve. “Pretty much all day is consumed with potential security threats,” he admits. With Okta on the job, he sees a way to protect sensitive patron data, keep loyalty points secure, and scale to meet the demands of millions of users.
It’s a plan he knows MGM Resorts patrons will love for its simplicity—and one that will make it easier for him to sleep at night.
About MGM Resorts International
MGM Resorts International is one of the world's leading global hospitality companies, operating a portfolio of destination resort brands, including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage. The Company is in the process of developing MGM National Harbor in Maryland and MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.