Okta helps Splunk turn a grab-bag of apps into a best-of-breed business suite



Douglas Harr: We're a platform for machine data that let's you turn data that's coming out of the machine and between the machines into operational intelligence, letting you make better business decisions about how you're running your services, about how you're customers are using your services and what experience they're having, and just give a better support and a better product out to your marketplace. We intended to build out our application's functionality through a suite of cloud offerings. So that was sort of a cornerstone of our way of sourcing application capabilities.

A part of that has become a real embracing of a best of breed approach as well because we haven't found one cloud suite that satisfies HR, financial, CRM, and all the different functionality. What we found is sort of three hubs around those main areas as well as scores of other, smaller apps that are a little bit more consumer focused that are the kind of functionality people expect to use today in business- that sort of purpose-built business functionality that's tailored for the web.

We really went to market to look for a solution that could treat this sort of grab bag of applications as sort of one complete whole and have a single sign-on experience, but also a stronger authentication experience. So that I knew when a Splunker comes into our systems from outside the office, they have one access point, I know who they are and if they're off our network they get a second opportunity to prove who they are.

We looked at Ping Identity, which is strong for certain kinds of capabilities, Simplified and some of the other players on the market. The top three features that jumped out to us about Okta were as follows. One of the main features was round multi-factor authentication. In fact, part of the advantage of Okta was the choice there. So they either use the Okta verify on their phone or they can do this sort of SMS functionality. We decided to roll out the phone-based authentication and then we bought some of the older fashioned dongles, the physical devices from Symantec for people who actually like that option. Put that on their key chain and that gives them the second factor of authentication. So there was strong functionality there and a lot of choice.

The second thing was the number of cloud providers that Okta was already engaged with, in terms of having the functionality of linking those cloud providers into the one sign-on portal. And so the company had a long list of providers that were possible for us to engage with.

The third thing was just around the single sign-on functionality itself, the ability, once we followed this best of breed strategy, to have more than two dozen cloud applications and have everybody in the company get to the point where they just have one identity and one sign-on to get to all this business functionality.

The implementation was one of the most successful we've seen. I've done this project before at other companies. This one with Okta we got within a quarter, on time, on budget, and one of the most successful roll-outs I've seen. And we're a security company, we had people coming up and thanking us for wrapping a second factor of authentication around our service. So people at Splunk knew what it meant that we had put that in place.

There isn't one standard out there for how cloud providers are establishing user authentication and so Okta goes out and they work with these cloud partners. So if I come across one who doesn't have SAML functionality, I hook them up with Okta. We have a conversation together to say, "I at Splunk want you provider, to have this SAML functionality, here's someone from Okta who can help coach you on how that can be established so that I can get that tight single sign-on functionality with you".

Splunk focuses on turning machine data into operational intelligence to help businesses make better decisions in their services and understanding their customers. However, they also wanted a more functional, seamless experience for their own workplace, seeking a cloud authentication suite that best fit all their data needs. Through Single Sign-On capabilities, Mutli-Factor Authentication and smooth integration with various other cloud providers, Okta hit all the right notes and more.