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Xero - A New Zealand startup nails identity early on

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Andrew Jessett: Xero's a online accountancy platform, so born in the cloud, and we help people with accountancy all over the world. We are a cloud based firm, and so very much so internally, we live that cloud ethos. I guess one of the things with our cloud delivered infrastructure, it's very easy to put new things in and new applications, and our users are constantly on the lookout for new stuff. There was a lot of sporadically based, disparate systems, all with their own kind of logon. Some of them were tied centrally, some of them weren't.

Andrew Jessett: If you look at the Xero story, we have had hyper growth, so all my role, through the whole time, is to be ... you know, you have to get ready for this scale. If we didn't have a centralized identity at the beginning, there's no way we could have grown at the rate we have. Automation is critical to what we ... our onboarding process at Xero. Sometimes, we had 14, 15 new starters on one day, and they had to have the best experience. They needed to be up and running from day one.

Dan Bowden: Before Okta, we were basically setting up new users by adding them manually to active directory, finding a user that might have a similar job title and guessing what groups we should put them in, and trying to get them the right access to the right applications. Now that we provision through Okta, from Workday into Okta, that's all automatic. User creation is automatic, the majority of the groups are provisioned automatically, which also includes access into the apps that they need, and it saves us a ton of time. It stops us logging into 15 different systems to make some changes. We just make it once and it pushes through to all these different applications.

Dan Bowden: Okta is our first step for security, but we also use two factor authentication. We manage that for different network groups, as well, so if someone's in the office, they'll get less pop-ups and less prompts for two factor than if they're out somewhere or if they're logging in from a new system.

Andrew Jessett: The interactions with the Okta customer success team have been fantastic. They've been with us every step of the way in our Xero journey, right from the beginning to today. We've worked very closely and they've helped us with a lot of the growth challenges we've had. It's been more of a partnership, or of a consultancy, rather than a, "Man, we've just hit this big problem, you've got to bail us out."

Dan Bowden: We want to get everything we can into the cloud. We're doing our best to get rid of all the systems that rely on anything internal, active directory, anything like that, and we see Okta as being vital to that. It's the center of where we will manage all of our apps and, yeah, I don't know we can do it without Okta.

As Xero prepares for intense growth, IT looks for an identity management partner that can help secure its application infrastructure and enable automation. Okta provides the answer, simplifying employee access to applications and creating secure, elegant, and automated lifecycle management processes. As a result, the small team can focus on providing the cutting-edge tools that its internal customers require.

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