New Research from Okta Reveals Cloud Usage Set to Soar, but UK Businesses are Struggling to Stay in Control

More Than One Third of Employees Access Cloud Applications Without IT Jurisdiction

London - January 29, 2014 — UK businesses are struggling to maintain security and control in an increasingly cloud and mobile-centric IT landscape, according to new research underwritten by Okta, a leading provider of cloud-based identity management. The research, conducted amongst 200+ UK IT decision makers by independent research company Loudhouse, found that whilst almost 80 per cent of UK IT decision makers plan to increase the number of cloud applications across their organisation this year, only 9 per cent feel confident they have complete visibility of all the applications currently used by employees. To download, the report, please visit:

The research uncovered a number of key findings concerning visibility and complexity challenges associated with the adoption of cloud applications in the enterprise and suggests that UK organisations are grappling with cloud growing pains. Key findings include:

  1. Employees are believed to be accessing a minimum of eight cloud applications per month at work, with more than one third (37 per cent) doing so without IT jurisdiction.
  2. 49 per cent of organisations have already rolled out iPads / tablets to many employees and 47 per cent are planning rollouts in the next 12 months.
  3. Only one in three IT decision makers (32 per cent) are comfortable they could pull together a list of access privileges and be confident that these are accurate.

"While no two businesses or IT environments look the same, every IT leader we speak with is looking to solve the same fundamental challenge. How can they deliver the best possible experience to their employees, customers, and partners while, at the same time, maintaining a high level of security and control?" said Phil Turner, vice president of EMEA, Okta. "It’s hard to argue that cloud-based applications offer a superior user experience, but with the majority of cloud usage happening ‘off radar’, via mobile devices, and across enterprises, businesses now need a better way to secure and control a magnitude more users, devices and applications that span traditional company and network boundaries."

Cloud Concerns And Complexities

As well as access concerns, businesses cannot be sure the use of cloud applications are meeting IT policies and guidelines. IT decision makers believe workers will continue to operate outside the control of IT despite efforts to educate users of the dangers of rogue applications. Regardless of any policy or training businesses put in place, more than half (59 per cent) believe employees will continue to use their own cloud applications. This could explain why businesses are no longer confident they are upholding their IT security, with only six per cent highly confident that cloud applications are integrated into their existing governance and IT security policies.

These challenges are not just confined to employees within the business, but also stretch across the extended enterprise - 70 per cent of organisations surveyed use portals comprised of multiple applications to engage with partners, customers and other external users. As a result, understanding ‘who has access to what’ across the business is fast becoming a significant challenge and identity management (the management of electronic identities) is becoming increasingly important.

"To be productive, employees and third parties need access to applications, so it’s down to IT to make that access seamless and secure. Previously businesses have turned towards on-premise identity management software to make this happen, however with the proliferation of devices in the workforce, combined with a rise in the number of applications outside the firewall, it’s clear that this approach is no longer sufficient," Turner continued. "It’s time now for organisations to re-evaluate their existing identity management practices. This means putting in place technology that is able to respond and adapt to the ever-changing environment, such as cloud-based identity and access management."

Closing The Identity Gap

With increasing complexity in today’s cloud and mobile world, many businesses have already started re-evaluating their current identity management practices. Over half of those surveyed (57 per cent) suggested that identity management has become more of a priority with the adoption of cloud services, while over two thirds (69 per cent) think their current identity management practices and tools could be improved. For those organisations, cloud-based identity and access management is the next logical evolution, with 62 per cent of respondents believing such technology will be the norm by 2015.

"The next two years are a critical time for organisations to close the identity gap and regain control of their IT infrastructures. The number of applications, access points and user types within their organisations will continue to grow and diversify, creating an increasingly urgent need to gain visibility and control whilst also simplifying user access to cloud systems. Those businesses that are unprepared to deal with the sudden increase in cloud applications will be the ones that are left stretched and exposed," concluded Turner.

The research commissioned by Okta polled more than 200 IT decision makers across the UK in companies with 500+ employees. All respondent had at least some interest or understanding of public cloud and derived from a range of industries, including financial services, technology, retail, manufacturing, professional services and more. The full report entitled "Identity Management in a Cloud and Mobile World", can be found here.