Remote Workforce for Success
Enabling large workforces to securely work from home requires a very specific set of tools. Here’s how to safely empower your teams.
Working from home has gone quickly from luxury to necessity. Time to arm your teams for safe, secure, remote collaboration.
Around the world, companies are under intense pressure to quickly expand their reliance on distributed, remote teams. But standing up this kind of capability isn’t easy: It means access and device challenges, communication and collaboration challenges, and new security and compliance concerns. Software solutions can help—but which ones? And how can enterprises integrate new solutions seamlessly, so teams can quickly access what they need without putting enterprise assets at risk?
That’s what this guide is all about. To keep your remote workforce humming efficiently, you need to provide them with a specific, comprehensive suite of remote work products, and you need to ensure their remote authentication is secure and frictionless. Okta lets you unify these best-of-breed apps into one streamlined end-user portal your employees, partners, and contractors can securely sign into from any device. And Okta’s new Workflows technology automates provisioning and deprovisioning, so you can get each team quickly to all the Zero Trust solutions they need, from VPNs to cloud and on-prem apps to servers and APIs.
On the following pages, we’ll lay out the tools your teams need, and the top-tier software partners that easily integrate these capabilities together into a simple, secure solution you can stand up quickly.
Some helpful links:
ENABLING SECURE ACCESS FOR A REMOTE WORKFORCE
You can still maintain centralized control, even when teams are remote.
REMOTE WORK TOOLKIT
Free trials of game-changing remote work solutions, all in one handy central location.
OKTA’S 2020 BUSINESSES AT WORK REPORT
Learn the apps other businesses are using to secure their workforces and keep them productive.
Businesses are already adapting to the new remote workforce reality with targeted software decisions.
From Productivity to Security: Here Are the Components You Need
With nearly 8000 customers and more than 6500 integrations, Okta’s uniquely poised to understand the complex world of enterprise software configuration. As detailed on the following pages, the seven areas described below are what we consider the minimal core considerations for any enterprise hoping to establish, grow, and maintain a happy and productive remote workforce.
• VIDEO CONFERENCING: You’ll need reliable, high quality conferencing solutions that let your farflung workforce gather virtually for meaningful collaboration. Partners like Cisco Webex, RingCentral, GoToMeeting, and Zoom make the process seamless for all your users, while adding strong tools to centralize enterprise control.
• DOCUMENT COLLABORATION: Your employees will need to be able to collaborate on shared documents in real time, across time zones, so they can efficiently transform each execution in a trackable way. Partners like Dropbox, G Suite, Microsoft 365, and Box solve this challenge.
• CHAT COLLABORATION: A remote, dispersed workforce must have the means to communicate easily in realtime all the time, as if they were never out of earshot of one another. Partners like Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and Slack keep team conversations easy, constant, and reviewable.
• EMAIL SECURITY: Keeping teams in constant contact—including email—is key, but breaching your defenses via email remains a favorite ploy of cyberattackers. You need a robust modern solution like Proofpoint to keep vulnerable enterprise communication safe.
• WORKSPACE SECURITY: The rapid proliferation of remote employees connecting into a shared space with their own devices raises new security challenges. A dedicated workspace solution like CrowdStrike, MobileIron, and VMware can secure the common ground.
• VPN SECURITY: With many offices shuttered, you’ll need to extend frictionless, anywhere/anytime access to your company’s networks, apps, and data, whether they’re located on-premises or in the cloud. Partners like Citrix Gateway, Cisco ASA VPN, and Palo Alto Networks keep modern VPN access secure and painless.
• NETWORK SECURITY: Enterprise apps and data are the ultimate target of cyberattacks, and any modern security posture needs to include a powerful data-focused solution like Zscaler and Netskope to capture, process, and monitor all user access and activity.
Give Your Remote Workforce the Tools They Need to Connect, Collaborate, and Create
Keeping a remote workforce productive starts with providing team members with easy, intuitive access to powerful, innovative software solutions that empower teams to work together securely and intuitively. Enabling individuals to remotely access enterprise apps and data, in-cloud or on-premise, is the baseline for remote work, and gets everyone up and running. But it’s best-of breed tools for safely collaborating with other team members that helps remote workforces truly excel.
To achieve this goal, enterprises need a productivity strategy focused on three main components. First, teams need a strong video conferencing solution, so they can reliably meet up and exchange ideas in realtime. Second, they need powerful tools for document collaboration, so they can work efficiently in parallel on the same objectives. Third, they need best-of-breed chat collaboration, so that synchronous and asynchronous project communication never stops.
On the following pages, we’ll detail these three competencies, using examples of specific, top-of-the-line productivity partners in the Okta Integration Network. After that, we’ll discuss security solution components.
Bring all your remote teams together with secure, top-tier conferencing tools
The current crisis has forced many companies to rapidly step up their video conferencing game. Providing secure, simple access to these virtual spaces for live collaboration, screensharing, recording, and other virtual meeting functions has become a mission-critical pillar of modern business success. As video conferencing replaces the conference room, you need a secure, reliable enterprise conferencing solution that provides appropriate access for employees, partners, contractors, and other team members, and innovative tools for productive communication.
The fastest-growing app in Okta’s 6500+ integration network, Zoom’s world-class, video-first conferencing solution integrates directly with Okta via SAML to safely keep your remote teams connected. Customers like Teach For America, Hubspot, and 20th Century Fox use the integration to provide their workforces with safe and seamless access to Zoom’s leading-edge tools for modern collaboration, including HD video conferencing, fully-featured webinars, and an enterprise cloud phone system.
Okta’s intuitive Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enable a Zero Trust security posture, so authenticated individuals can safely sign into Zoom and other apps from anywhere, at any time, on any device. And customer IT managers can simplify profile updating (the integration syncs with customer-side identity stores like Active Directories and Human Resource Information Systems) and can automate provisioning into Zoom groups, saving time and reducing risk while giving end-users a seamless experience that keeps them productive from day one.
Enable document collaboration that lets teams parallel-process while maintaining a single source of truth
Modern business agility means diverse teams—customers, partners, vendors— working simultaneously on shared documents. This collaborative environment enables rapid development of always up-to-date content combined with definitive version control. Enterprises need to enable this with secure identity control, automated provisioning, and top-of-the-line document collaboration software. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that everyone literally (and figuratively) be on the same page.
Okta and Box work together to provide immediate anytime access for collaborating teams to share and jointly develop enterprise content utilizing Box’s industry-leading software, including features like Collections and Annotations. Okta authenticates team members and automates provisioning and deprovisioning, making it easy to control who in your organization gets access, and to confidently manage permissions—even when users change roles or groups. Okta’s enterprise Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) help ensure Box content stays safe for customers like MGM Resorts, Discovery Communications, and Allergan.
Foster reliable, safe, realtime communication among remote collaborators
With more and more employees working remotely, it’s easy for office communications to fracture or break down. Companies need new tools for enabling constant, easy, searchable communication across channels like calls and chats, organized by teams or projects and keeping the workforce constantly engaged and collaborating. Teams and individuals need to be able to easily organize group discussions, private messages, information and file sharing, and more, without worries or hassles.
Through its friendly, familiar interface, Slack works with Okta to securely create and maintain an enterprise-level communications network where remote users can safely share, archive, and search key documents and conversations. For companies like News Corp, Workday, and Funding Circle, Okta protects and simplifies remote access to Slack, using SAML to enable frictionless Single Sign-On (SSO), and SCIM to automate user provisioning and deprovisioning. Okta groups can be pushed directly into Slack, automatically adding employees to the Slack channels they need while maintaining centralized access control.
Protect Remote Communication, Virtual Workspaces, and Cloud Apps and Data at Scale
Keeping enterprise assets and workforce identities secure is always mission-critical, but the rapid expansion of remote work has multiplied the challenge. A dispersed workforce signing on to their own devices to access cloud and remote assets across rapidly evolving teams and projects creates a complex ecosystem that’s daunting to defend.
But a well-designed security posture doesn’t have to be at odds with productivity. We believe there are four main aspects of security pertinent to this challenge. You need email security, to keep permanent communication (and a popular target for hackers) safe. You need workspace access security, to restrict access to shared places, including cloud infrastructure. You need VPN security to protect access to networks and on-premise resources. And you need network security to keep enterprise data and apps safe.
On the following pages we’ll detail these critical security capabilities, and show examples of particular best-of breed partners and how they integrate with Okta to keep enterprises secure while enabling productive remote work.
Secure your organization’s email as a reliable source of truth, and keep bad actors from infiltrating the enterprise
Email remains a central communication channel for many businesses, but its ease of use and ubiquitousness make it an extraordinarily popular target for credential thieves and other threat actors. 94% of all malware is delivered via email, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report.* To keep enterprise assets safe, companies need a powerful security solution to lock this channel down.
Okta works with industry-leading partners like Proofpoint to keep enterprise email safe. With this integration in place, your workforce securely authenticates via Okta, then enjoys deep protection from cyberattacks with Proofpoint’s ever-evolving advanced threat protection, including additional protections for your organization’s most frequently attacked persons. Proofpoint’s adaptive security solution stops 99% of email-attachment-based attacks, as well as providing additional benefits like archiving, compliance, and security awareness training. Together, Okta and Proofpoint secure your email to protect your workforce, your enterprise assets, and your brand from today’s advanced risks.
Establish a Zero Trust security posture that supports the dynamic workspaces modern remote collaborators need
When your entire workforce is logging in from their living room, defining a collective digital workspace and keeping that space secure is mission-critical. Today’s remote workforce needs anytime, any device access to cloud-based infrastructure and the apps they’re authorized for, while IT needs strong tools to centrally manage fine-grained access permissions as projects and teams evolve.
Okta and VMware work seamlessly together to master this challenge, securing conditional remote access by first validating the user, the device, application, and network. VMware Workspace ONE provides a convenient single pane of apps and assets for each remote user, and delivers intelligent, device-centric access tools, with authentication provided by the identity-centric access policies of Okta’s Identity Cloud. The integration supports a simplified user experience (even passwordless) that lets the enterprise confidently adopt best-of-breed apps and tech, scale infrastructure as needed, and simplify employee lifecycle management.
Provide secure, remote VPN access so extended workforces can get to their on-network data and apps
Companies that built networks and on-premise data stores in a world of on-site employees can struggle to adapt to the realities of the new remote workforce. Today, you need tools to extend easy, intuitive VPN access to your teams, so they can access everything they need, including web apps, on-prem assets, local networks, and more.
Spotlight: Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks’ Global Protect Clientless VPN and NextGen Firewall integrate directly with Okta Single Sign-On (SSO) and Okta’s Adaptive MFA to quickly connect your workers to the assets they need. With PANW’s strong enterprise VPN controls, your teams (including partners, vendors, and contractors) can authenticate easily and get productive quickly via intuitive, browser-based VPN. Enterprise assets stay safe, and IT managers can easily maintain centralized access control over a dynamic environment.
Protect your cloud and on-premise enterprise assets, apps, and data from all threats, internal and external
Your remote employees want to use their own devices and apps (whether sanctioned or unsanctioned), complicating your efforts to keep threat actors from hijacking credentials and accessing enterprise data. To protect the kingdom, you can’t settle for anything less than total realtime visibility into all user access and activity, and automated enforcement of policy-based controls so threats can be remediated faster than humans can react.
Netskope works with Okta to provide data-centric security that keeps enterprise assets, apps, and data safe. The Netskope Security Cloud provides rich metadata and custom reporting that deliver 360° visibility into user activity, and strong policy controls including support for step-up authentication on suspicious access attempts. Okta’s Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds that layer of strong identity-based security everywhere, while Okta’s Single Sign-On (SSO) keeps the user experience frictionless and intuitive. Together, Netskope and Okta support a modern, flexible, scalable enterprise ecosystem that secures apps and data without compromising user experience or productivity.
Enterprises that can mobilize quickly to arm remote teams for powerful, secure, cloud collaboration are gaining a very real competitive advantage.
Around the world, Okta's customers are reacting quickly to the new demands of the changing workplace reality, like deploying new tools for communication and collaboration and securing authorized remote access by extending VPNs and adding MFA everywhere. We see this responsive restructuring as only the first phase of a new workplace evolution that enables secure remote collaborative work, so companies can survive and thrive. In the coming months, we believe companies that have successfully adapted to this new reality will be well positioned to enter into a second phase, adjusting their mix of apps, tools, and processes not just to enable remote productivity, but to empower teams for unprecedented collaborative breakthroughs. The new dynamic work revolution is upon us. Are you ready?
Accelerate your journey to remote workforce success.
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Okta is the leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise. The Okta Identity Cloud enables organizations to securely connect the right people to the right technologies at the right time. With over 6,500 pre-built integrations to applications and infrastructure providers, Okta customers can easily and securely use the best technologies for their business. Nearly 8,000 organizations, including 20th Century Fox, JetBlue, Nordstrom, Slack, Teach for America and Twilio, trust Okta to help protect the identities of their workforces and customers. For more information, go to okta.com.