Trailblazing Okta distributor Distology is helping partners thrive in a fast-changing world. Here’s how:

As spending in the global cybersecurity market continues to increase, so does the number of organisations, tools, professionals, products, developers, and partners offering security solutions. Even for professionals, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. That’s why IT distributor Distology takes matters into its own hands, continually researching and selecting the best-in-breed security technologies available in the market so their partners can focus on serving their customers. 

Today’s blog comes from Distology’s Stephen Rowlands, Sales Director, and Chris Collier, Technical Manager. As Okta’s oldest distributor, the two share Distology’s insights into the industry and the vision behind its approach to placing people, not tech, at the forefront of any investment.

Many think that IT distribution is all about sales quotes and low margins. But at Distology, we do things differently. Our passion lies in finding cutting-edge technology and in listening closely to our partners. We work to understand what they’re trying to do for their customers, and how we can find the right tools for the job. To that end, we’re very selective in choosing the vendors we work with.

But cybersecurity is a fast-moving industry—new solutions come out all the time, each one claiming to be the newest and greatest out there. But upon closer inspection, these solutions are often quite similar to each other. When we do find technology that is genuinely trying to solve problems for its users, that is innovative in how it works, it stands out. This was definitely the case when we first heard about Okta, back in 2016.

As we examined the Okta Identity Cloud, it became clear to us that Okta is a market leader in identity and access management because its tools are of the highest quality: they integrate with 6,500 applications, are easy to use, fast to deploy, and very reliable. This means that by investing in Okta, businesses can secure their systems today, in one year, in five years, and beyond, no matter what other services they adopt moving forward. That’s quite a feat in the cybersecurity world, so this is the kind of technology we want to tell our partners about.

And then there’s the fact that Identity and Access Management is one of the main security concerns of businesses today. We live in a world where anyone is able to access anything from anywhere, and it can be challenging for companies to know whether the person asking for access is really who they say they are. In this world, you’voe got two choices before you give them access to your applications or data: implicitly trust people, or put additional security layers in place to cheque their credentials. And this is not just for cloud services. It also applies to systems that live on-premises, because cyber threats don’t come only from outside companies, they can originate internally, too. When we understood that Okta can help businesses address these concerns quickly, with a long-term view, we were keen to welcome Okta as one of our first vendors.

But having great technology doesn’t automatically mean you’re a great vendor. When it comes to collaborating with our partners, we also looked at the people behind Okta to ensure that we had similar goals and would fit culturally. We soon found that Distology and Okta are a good match because of our common focus on positive disruption: how can we innovate and solve problems together? So in 2016 we made it official: Distology became Okta’s first distributor, not just in the UK but in Europe and the rest of the world.

At that same time, we also started using the Okta Identity Cloud ourselves. We adopted Single Sign-On and Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication to easily and securely log into our applications using just one portal, with an added layer of authentication. We also started using Lifecycle Management to provision and deprovision users, and never looked back. This move single-handedly took care of time-consuming jobs that we were happy to automate. For example, when onboarding new team members which, at the pace in which we’re growing, happens almost weekly, we only need their name and department to give them the access rights to the applications they’ll need in their new role. Okta does the rest.

We believe that one can only talk passionately about a solution that you actually use, and we can confidently say that Okta has made our lives a lot easier. As cybersecurity specialists, we’re also confident in using Okta as our first line of defence against cyberattacks on some highly targeted platforms that we use in our daily operations. Our real-time cybersecurity reports show that Okta is effectively blocking attackers and protecting us against any compromise. This, in turn, makes it easy for us to get our partners excited about Okta.

With all this in mind, our partners today see us as enablers. Through us, they get to work with market leaders like Okta, helping more people to adopt this disruptive technology. And the numbers speak for themselves: from 2019 to 2020, Okta’s presence grew by 110% in the UK alone, and we’ve gained an additional 127 new transacting partners in just the past 12 months.

In all this, it remains key for us to ensure that everyone involved, Okta, our partners, and their customers, are making the most of the solution and of our consultancy. So we take a proactive approach: instead of waiting for them to have questions or issues, we offer the latest information and support, until they can work as comfortably and confidently with the Okta Identity Cloud as we do.

But it was in the first half of 2020, when most of Europe went into lockdown, that the value of having Okta in our portfolio became even clearer. Many partners were suddenly faced with the massive task of helping their customers to enable remote work. We were proud to be immediately positioned to help them address these urgent concerns, without developing new security issues that could crop up in the future.

During lockdown, we worked closely with partners to help companies understand how the Okta Identity Cloud can enable them to adapt very quickly, implement new cloud services and hardware, and support a remote workforce to access the applications they need—all without disregarding security.

When we first started distributing Okta in EMEA, few partners had heard of them. Now, it’s the other way around: partners come to us because they want the Okta Identity Cloud. They know we have a great relationship with Okta, and that we know the products inside out. We’re proud of that. So in our ambition to continue growing ourselves, and with identity and access management at the forefront of the cybersecurity industry, Okta becomes more and more a cornerstone of our business. We’re excited to see what the next years of partnership will bring for all of us.

Read the full Distology story here.


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