Vinted: Quickly setting up new employees for success with an Okta-powered infrastructure
out-of-the-box integrations saves a year’s worth of overhead for connecting 394 applications with SSO
hours a year spent responding to MFA prompts, due to faster push-based factors and adaptive intelligence
hours saved from provisioning applications by integrating custom apps with Lifecycle Management in half a day
- Preparing for success
- Looking for the best of all worlds
- Automation for the people
- More users, more customers, no worries
- An architecture for growth
Vinted, an online C2C marketplace for second-hand fashion, is on a mission to make second-hand fashion the first choice. In 2018, ahead of expansion into new markets, the company needed to build its first truly comprehensive identity and access management platform to make sure that it could support its growth.
Vinted had two goals for its new IAM solution: to make life more convenient for its employees and to improve the overall security of the company. When it trialled some of the leading names in IAM, Okta was the only one that fit all of Vinted’s needs in one platform.
Vinted needed its new identity and access management solution to reduce friction with Single Sign-On and automate processes with Lifecycle Management. Meanwhile, Adaptive MFA helps Vinted strengthen protection without inconveniencing its workers, while Universal Directory further boosts security by enabling the company to see and manage all user identities and access rights in just one place.
In just three years of implementing Okta, Vinted grew from 200 employees to 800 (as well as contractors and vendors). Thanks to the automation enabled by Okta, it could easily onboard new employees at speed and rapidly expand its support staff to ensure the best possible customer experience. Meanwhile, with only a single username and password to remember, workers access the tools they need whenever they need them, easily and securely.
Already established in 15 markets globally, Vinted plans to expand into new territories and grow its overall member base. With Okta, it has built an architecture and infrastructure designed for seamless scalability.
I knew we were going to grow quickly, but I didn’t expect to grow this quickly. That would not have been possible without Okta. It has helped us improve our security and the speed of our basic administrative tasks.
Aidas Staškevičius, IT Area Lead, Vinted
- Enables rapid growth from 200 to more than 800 employees in just three years.
- Onboards 15 new employees per week thanks to automations built with Lifecycle Management, with average onboarding time reduced from a day to 30 minutes.
- Empowers users to access the tools they need, when they need them, with 394 applications integrated with Single Sign-On.
- Provides better support for customers with rapid onboarding of external contractors
Most of us have a few outfits in our closet that we don’t wear anymore, but that someone else might. “If you don’t wear it, sell it” is the motto of Vinted, Europe’s largest online C2C platform dedicated to second-hand fashion.
The company started in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2008 as the brainchild of two people, Milda and Justas. Milda was moving house but had too many clothes to take with her. Justas built a website to help her give her clothes away to friends. That website went on to become Vinted, which today operates in 15 markets across Europe and North America serving a community of more than 45 million members.
A marketplace with a difference
The key to Vinted's continued success rests on two key factors, according to Aidas Staškevičius, IT Area Lead at the company. "Firstly, we want to make second-hand fashion the first choice, worldwide,” he says. “And, secondly we focus on our people. We look for people who share our values, including in terms of sustainability, self-development."
But Vinted is more than just a retailer or marketplace. First and foremost, it is a technology company. As well as affecting how it works - the engineering department is the largest internal department - this has a significant effect on Vinted's culture. "We're comfortable with change," says Aidas. "We're always adapting, always looking to see how we can make things better."
Aidas joined Vinted in 2016 as the company’s first IT lead. “There were plenty of engineers working on the product side, but I was hired to make sure everything was working smoothly,” he says. “In fact, the entire service desk was just me!” A vital part of Aidas’ work is managing identity and access to the applications that the company uses. As a technologically-minded startup, Vinted was fully committed to using agile, cloud-based methodologies but there was no single directory for user identities that covered every application that employees were using. At the time, the company was small enough that everything could be done manually.
A growth inflection point
But as Vinted grew, so did Aidas’ workload. By 2018, Vinted had 200 employees and Aidas was stretched beyond what was sustainable, doing basic administrative tasks manually. From a security point of view, there were too many applications to keep track of. Meanwhile, colleagues felt increasingly lost as they struggled to remember usernames and passwords for the new applications they added. It was time to look for a truly comprehensive identity and access management solution.
If it was to continue its growth, Vinted needed a platform that could automate tasks that were typically manually done, whilst improving security without increasing friction to its users. Aidas had prior experience with Okta, and was well aware of its capabilities, but he wanted to give other solutions a fair test first to see if they were a better fit for Vinted. In the end, however, Okta won out because of the comprehensive nature of its service.
“Our two main priorities were convenience and security,” says Aidas. “Okta was the only platform that we looked at that did everything we wanted to in a single package. It almost felt like magic.”
Integration without disruption
Having chosen Okta, Aidas discovered that it had out-of-the-box SSO integrations to 95% of Vinted’s 394 apps. To integrate these without Okta’s native integrations would have taken over a year and effectively a full-time employee’s worth of cost. As a result of the ease of integrating with Okta, Vinted discovered a huge amount of shadow IT such as duplicate subscriptions and services, e.g., three or four apps doing the same thing. This led Vinted to create its own directory of users and applications using Okta’s Universal Directory. For the first time, the company had a centralised, fully comprehensive list where it could see exactly who was using what and how they were using it.
One of the biggest challenges for Aidas before Okta was onboarding and offboarding employees. With Lifecycle Management that process is fully automated, as is the provisioning for 14 of the most intensively used applications such as Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Slack, and Zoom. Meanwhile, API Access Management allows Vinted’s engineers to manage and control the company’s APIs from a single point, reducing friction and risk.
Before Okta, it was normal for Vinted to spend 30 minutes provisioning a user to an app manually. Vinted’s rapid growth meant it would have had to hire new staff to deal with the demands of manually provisioning users to core apps. But using Okta has meant that Vinted didn’t have to incur the costs of hiring 37 new staff members just to deal with basic IT administrative tasks, such as manual provisioning.
Okta has also brought other valuable benefits. Originally, new joiners had to wait a full working day to receive their apps. This was fast by most standards, but as the company began to grow rapidly this tight turnaround on app provisioning would have become near impossible. With Okta, day one app provisioning is now fully automated and has saved Vinted 63,000 hours, the time new employees would have spent simply waiting for their apps.
“Without Okta, to automate core apps for automated lifecycle management we would have needed one to two months per app to build connectors to accomplish this, on top of building an automation engine, which is typically considered a large project. Okta was able to integrate custom apps for lifecycle management in half a day.” says Aidas.
Security and convenience
With Okta, Vinted has been able to adopt a zero trust security model while making life easier for its users. The company has integrated almost 400 applications with Single Sign-On, meaning that users no longer have to worry about remembering different passwords or usernames. It has decreased its VPN usage, and the associated costs that go with it. And by using Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication, which takes into account device certificates, IP addresses and other risk factors, Vinted can spare its users from constantly having to sign in and wait for notifications without compromising security.
“We used to use a one-time password Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). But we often had to send the request twice as the SMS didn’t arrive on the first attempt. This gave our users a bad experience and introduced friction, as sending two SMS factors twice a day resulted in 19,000 hours a year responding to MFA prompts,” explains Aidas.
With Okta, the number of hours spent doing Multi-Factor Authentications dropped to 375 hours due to faster push-based factors and adaptive intelligence behind the prompts.“Single Sign-On and Adaptive MFA have helped us find the correct balance between security and user experience,” says Aidas.
A launchpad for growth
When Vinted first adopted Okta, the company was growing fast and would continue to do so over the next three years, going from 200 employees to more than 800. Previously, setting a new employee up could take as much as a day, with emails bouncing around between HR and the IT desk and manual provisioning of applications. With Okta, day one app provisioning is now fully automated.
“I knew we were going to grow quickly, but I didn’t expect to grow this quickly. That would not have been possible without Okta. It has helped us improve our security and the speed with which we complete basic administrative tasks.” says Aidas.
While Okta has greatly improved life for Aidas and the IT team, it has also made working at Vinted much easier. The company has integrated 394 applications with Single Sign-On, allowing users to access the tools that they need without friction. “When I speak to the rest of the company, I tell them Okta is for them not for me. It’s about their convenience,” says Aidas. “I painted them a vision of just a single username and password to access everything they need. That’s what Okta has delivered for us.”
With a streamlined workflow, Vinted’s full time employees have been able to focus their resources on core objectives like growing the business and optimising the customer experience. Meanwhile, Okta has allowed the company to quickly take on more contractors to ensure that the community of 45 million Vinted members get the right level of support.
“Over the last three years, we’ve been able to provide our customers with quicker and better support,” says Aidas. “That’s because we’ve been able to onboard so many support staff so quickly. It’s a direct result of our collaboration with Okta.”
But Vinted’s journey with Okta is not over as it continues to look for new ways to improve. The company is currently working to make Workday, the human capital management platform, its single source of truth for HR and payroll. Integrating Workday with Okta will streamline its operations even further and drive more efficiencies. It will need them. Following its acquisition of Dutch startup United Wardrobe, and launch in Italy in late 2020, the emphasis is firmly on expansion.
“With Okta, we built the architecture for growth,” says Aidas. “We know where we’re headed and we know how to get there.”