Why Identity fuels speed for SMBs

It takes time to get your small- or medium-size business (SMB) running and establish a strong market presence. Every second counts in delivering tangible results that propel business growth: 93% of SMB owners calculate a potential run-rate of less than 18 months upon launch (Small Biz Trends). If you get to a Series B or C round of funding, you’ll probably work for 15–20 months before bringing in new capital (Forbes). SMBs are as affected as anyone by the need to perform well under economic uncertainty: One in five SMBs anticipates growth to slow rather than accelerate, amidst inflation, trouble finding qualified workers, and cuts to spending (McKinsey). 

Speed matters

Speed matters, so what impacts speed? 

Maximising efficiency directly impacts time to market. Embracing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions can free up that valuable time, letting your lean team focus on innovation. Consider the mental bandwidth, time, and resources it takes to build and maintain homegrown systems — systems you could efficiently outsource. Think of how many hats your people wear, and how that can lead to spending time on tasks that don’t directly generate revenue, from foundational business features like authentication to administrative tasks like HR and payroll. 

Entrepreneurs (founders) have reported spending around 40% of their time on tasks that don’t generate income. Organisations who use third-party SaaS components can reduce time to market with shorter release cycles, set themselves up for long-term success, and foster a culture of continuous innovation and growth (Okta).

How Identity helps

Not reinventing the authentication wheel 

SaaS third-party authentication reduces time to market more than any other SaaS component (Okta Survey). Of organisations using third-party SaaS for authentication, 88% reduced time to market in the past year, compared to those who built authentication in house. 

The heavy lifting of Identity can be offloaded to:

  • Significantly reduce developer toil and boost productivity on strategic outcomes
  • Invest in innovation and market-changing initiatives like product-led growth and AI
  • Let you pivot quickly in response to market movements
  • Allow for more time to develop and get to market faster — securely 

Attacker slowdown

Identity solutions effectively thwart potential attacks, offering added value through features like protection against credential-stuffing attacks and multi-factor authentication (MFA). 

According to a study by the Cyber Readiness Institute, 54% of SMBs didn’t implement MFA of any kind, making SMBs a juicy target for attackers hoping to sidestep the security measures of larger orgs. Building a suite of security features takes time and needs ongoing maintenance, potentially pulling developer hours away from core projects. SaaS Identity gets your security up and running at speed, securing your business and potentially creating new business opportunities as you’re better equipped to meet ongoing compliance requirements and make your business more appealing to larger clients. 

Curious about MFA and how it helps SMBs specifically? Check out our blog post on how to choose the right MFA for your small business

Workforce Identity: Productivity from day 1

Automated workflows and enhanced productivity tools ensure a seamless experience from day one. From securing remote talent to automating onboarding and offboarding tasks, Identity can protect from human error and put your tech stack to work for your team, empowering employees to deliver their best without unnecessary IT hurdles. 

Customer Identity: Customer value without tech debt

Customer expectations are higher than ever. According to Salesforce, 60% of service professionals report customer expectations have increased since the pandemic, while nearly 90% of consumers say their experience is a primary consideration for businesses — including fast and frictionless delivery of services. When you’re fast to market, with Identity to give you insight into customer behaviour, you can quickly learn what customers really want. 

Customer-focused Identity solutions are designed to grow as you do with scalable infrastructure, extensibility options, and flexible authentication mechanisms, so your system can adapt to evolving market needs without being bogged down in system overhauls or frequent software updates. You can even smooth and secure customer interactions with streamlined registration, account recovery, and authentication options.

Need more time-boosting tips? Read the whitepaper on how to get to market faster with fewer resources

Opening B2B doors

In addition to protecting your business, Identity is a table-stakes requirement for selling your services and goods to other organisations (B2B). Selling to enterprises can rapidly increase your revenue, but it requires trust. Enterprise businesses typically buy services only from organisations that demonstrate strong security posture — as evidenced by a SOC2 Type II report — and that can work with their enterprise SSO and automated provisioning systems.

By adopting Workforce Identity, you can demonstrate to auditors that you secure employees' access with strong MFA, enforce least privilege, automate, and consistently review employees' access, achieving SOC2 compliance more easily. 

By adopting Customer Identity, you can let your B2B customers bring their own enterprise SSO/SAML to your apps, opening your business to new B2B opportunities with long-term contracts.

What to watch out for

Even if you want to remain lean, market demands and customer expectations can sometimes change your roadmap before you’re ready to add features. SMBs benefit from keeping a finger on the pulse of market demands since it shapes your customer expectations, fueling that need for adaptation and innovation. 

Vendor lock-in can hinder long-term scalability, limiting potential growth — potentially slowing you by introducing new barriers. Be sure to research and understand what vendors can provide and what boxes you need to tick before settling on a solution that could inadvertently hold you back.  

Finally, look before you leap to avoid tech debt. Tech debt can build because teams think speed at any cost is worth the gamble. Good intentions on speedier time to market may haunt you later if you haven’t done due diligence into what your company and customers actually need. 

Learn more 

Identity can be the fuel that sets your business up for success — at speed. Curious to learn more, or ready to go now? Check out our other resources or click here to talk to Sales.

Time To Market (with fewer resources)
How to choose the right MFA for SMBs
How Development Teams Purchase Saas

These materials and any recommendations within are not legal, privacy, security, compliance, or business advice. These materials are intended for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current security, privacy, and legal developments nor all relevant issues. You are responsible for obtaining legal, security, privacy, compliance, or business advice from your own lawyer or other professional advisor and should not rely on the recommendations herein. Okta is not liable to you for any loss or damages that may result from your implementation of any recommendations in these materials. Okta makes no representations, warranties, or other assurances regarding the content of these materials.  Information regarding Okta's contractual assurances to its customers can be found at okta.com/agreements.