StepStone: Employing best-in-brand IAM products to secure the future of recruitment
from POC to rollout
in apps now protected by MFA
now accessible with SS0
now using Okta across StepStone
of productivity saved per day across the workforce by authenticating once a day with Okta, previously it was authenticating five to ten times a day at 45 seconds per authentication
- Using technology to continuously grow and evolve
- Ensuring success today, tomorrow and in the future
- Providing secure, seamless user experiences
- Increasing the number of apps integrated with SSO and MFA
- Getting the most out of Okta by leveraging new features
Since its founding in Düsseldorf in 1996, StepStone has grown to become one of the world’s most successful online recruitment businesses. When it came to upgrading the Identity and Access Management component of its platform, StepStone sought to overcome several limitations with its legacy solutions, including complicated configuration processes and a limited feature set.
For StepStone, Okta offered the right blend of best-in-brand products and a vendor-agnostic approach with a trustworthy reputation that would stand the company in good stead, whatever the future brings. StepStone worked closely with Okta Customer First to ensure that its migration process ran smoothly, and it now draws on its strategic support for the challenges it may face in the future.
Today, StepStone uses Okta to empower its workforce of more than 3700 employees, ensuring they have access to the right tools when they need them, and that identity authentication and authorisation processes have a minimum impact on their time. The operations team at StepStone has also been able to customise appropriate levels of access to the relevant user accounts and applications.
StepStone now has 415 apps integrated with Okta SSO, including multiple portals into Amazon Web Services and other back-office functions, plus Azure, Adobe Creative Cloud, Jira, O365, SAP and Salesforce for its staff. The company now uses a variety of factors for its MFA, including Google Authenticator, Okta Verify, and SMS, as well as increasing the number of apps protected by MFA by around 20%. In addition, users would be authenticating between 5-10 times a day. Okta has since reduced this to only once a day, driving productivity throughout the workforce.
StepStone continues to work with Okta Customer First through the Premier Success Package, this includes quarterly check-ins to ensure that the company is getting the most from the latest Okta features. One such feature StepStone is exploring is the use of Okta Workflows, which makes it easy for organisations to automate identity processes at scale, without writing and maintaining code.
One of the key attractions of Okta MFA was the ability to more easily differentiate and manage access levels. Now we can apply a more secure authentication factor as and when it's needed. It saves time, diminishes user frustration and makes everything much smoother.
Serge Groven, Senior Corporate IT Manager at StepStone
Matching the best talent to the right role is vital for the success of any business. But in an increasingly competitive marketplace, this can be a challenge for prospective employees and recruiters alike. StepStone is ahead of the curve, with more than two decades’ experience.
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Düsseldorf, StepStone is one of the world’s leading digital recruitment platforms and is ideally positioned to create value in an environment with dramatically increasing talent scarcity. By combining AI-powered hiring platforms and digital recruitment services, StepStone pushes the boundaries of technology to help companies hire the right talent and help people find the right job. StepStone is active in more than 20 countries with more than 20 brands, including StepStone, Totaljobs and Appcast, it employs around 3,700 people and delivers more than 100 million job applications per year to over 150,000 employers.
Technology is key to the success of the business. StepStone has adopted next-generation tools - including its AI-powered hiring platform and smart autonomous job matching techniques - that move it away from its traditional job board model and position it as one of the world’s leading recruitment platforms. The company’s mission is to find the right job for everyone, and its partners range from the smallest startups to the largest corporations in the world.
When it came to upgrading the Identity and Access Management (IAM) component of its platform, StepStone looked for a solution that would solve not only the challenges of today, but also offer strategic support for the job market of tomorrow. For StepStone, Okta offered the right blend of best-in-brand products and a vendor-agnostic approach with a trustworthy reputation that would stand the company in good stead, whatever the future brings.
“We were looking for flexibility and forward-thinking,” explains Serge Groven, Senior Corporate IT Manager at StepStone. “And it’s vital that we are able to trust, and feel supported by, our technology partners. When it came to working with Okta, it more than met our expectations.”
Ensuring a smooth, secure user experience with Okta
As a tech savvy operation, StepStone recognised the need for secure access to its backend for its workforce of more than 4,000 people. But its existing cloud-based solution presented several limitations that the company sought to overcome. Having evaluated Okta, StepStone realised it could add value to its operations while improving the user experience for its employees. Okta offered a larger feature set than the legacy platform StepStone was seeking to move away from.
“My job is to make sure that our IT infrastructure is not an impediment to the day-to-day work of my colleagues,” says Serge. “We try to empower employees by offering technologies that ensure our landscape is safe and secure, while offering the best possible performance.”
From POC to roll out in a matter of weeks
StepStone conducted a proof of concept to ensure that Okta addressed the pain points Serge and his team had identified with their legacy setup. And, while this process took several months, Serge believes that it was time well spent. Beyond that, he says that the support he received from Okta Customer First was invaluable in avoiding any pitfalls when it was time to roll out the new setup, which took a matter of weeks, beginning in mid-August 2021 and completed by early September. StepStone also worked with AWS Marketplace to ensure that it got the best possible deal when it came to purchasing Okta.
“Working with Okta on our implementation was a really fantastic experience,” he explains. “Okta assigned some really smart people to assist us and also acted as a sparring partner, not just listening to and agreeing with what we wanted, but questioning whether that was the right approach and suggesting alternative options. That meant we could have full confidence that when we purchased and rolled Okta out, everything worked as we expected. And, with the help of AWS Marketplace, we were able to ensure that the move to Okta from our existing platform was cost-neutral.”
Better managing security access with adaptive MFA
While the previous platform StepStone used offered Multifactor Authentication (MFA), it didn’t offer the degree of configuration that was required, which was inconvenient for its users. Serge found that Okta MFA demanded fewer prompts throughout the day. He was also impressed with what he calls ‘authentication paranoia,’ which means he can customise MFA events according to the specific application being accessed, as well as the account that’s being used to access it. StepStone now uses a variety of factors, depending on its needs, including Google Authenticator, Okta Verify, and SMS. There’s also been an incremental security benefit, with around 20% more apps now secured with MFA compared to the previous platform.
“One of the key attractions of Okta MFA was the ability to more easily differentiate and manage access levels,” he adds. “Now we can apply a more secure authentication factor as and when it's needed. It saves time, diminishes user frustration and makes everything much smoother. Not only that, you only need to authenticate once or twice throughout the day, rather than multiple times. MFA is great from a security point of view and that’s why my team loves it, but fewer authentication requests mean a better experience for the user.”
Supporting seamless access to more than 400 apps with SS0
Serge was also attracted to the promise of one portal to access all of the apps StepStone’s workers need, the fully customisable Single Sign-On (SSO) login portal. StepStone now has 415 apps integrated with Okta SSO, including multiple portals into Amazon Web Services and other back-office functions, as well as Azure, Adobe Creative Cloud, Jira, O365, SAP and Salesforce.
Serge says: “We’ve used our migration to Okta as an opportunity to integrate apps with SSO that were not supported under our legacy infrastructure, or would have been too time-consuming to implement. Vendors work hard to make sure they’re supported by Okta and so many applications work right out of the box. That empowers our people to focus on other things, rather than integrating apps. And now, whenever you login in the morning, all of your applications are just there. You don’t need to scour the desktop or go hunting for bookmarks in your browser, and that means greater visibility for the tools that we have available.”
Looking to the future with Lifecycle Management and Workflows
As well as guiding StepStone through its implementation process, the company continues to work with Okta Customer First through the Premier Success Package. That includes quarterly check-ins to ensure that StepStone is getting the most out of Okta, keeping Serge and his colleagues up-to-date on the latest Okta features. One such feature StepStone is exploring for the future is the use of Okta Workflows, which makes it easy for organisations to automate identity processes at scale, without writing code.
“Some of my senior people are looking at Workflows to see if we can achieve a higher degree of automation in the way we create new accounts, provide access and more,” adds Serge. “We’ve already achieved some automation through the creation of PowerShell scripts, but we think Workflows could make this process a lot easier. And the team seems really excited to spend time on this project, which makes my life a lot easier.”