Where does that leave You and I on the journey to escape the bondage of passwords? Right now, you can’t just sign up for Okta as an individual. When you ask this question to Okta’s executives, they will all take the same distant look and come up with several variations on “We’ll get there.” Jon Todd, the company’s young chief architect, says Okta is currently busy enough to expand to take care of outside consultants and other loosely affiliated users – but he wants the public Company solves the larger “identity problem” for the rest of us, someday.
If and when it happens, it has a big edge. For Okta, as Eric Berg, product leader explains, identity is at the heart of its architecture, not just a system dedicated to something else. Unlike its larger competitors Microsoft and SalesForce, Okta doesn’t have any apps or suite of apps to sell to you or your company. It has no incentive to lock you in its silo or stack or any of the other metaphors that the future of software might bring. If anything, the benefit of Okta is to connect its customers with as many other services as possible.
Enterprise customers who have gone through the previous era of prohibition from IBM or Microsoft all know this. For things like identity management, a lot of them want a neutral vendor – and Okta holds the Swiss enterprise software. It’s a role it can’t play if it were acquired by a cloud giant, like Amazon or Google, or by someone who plans to sell you major hardware or software, like Apple. or Microsoft.
What about Facebook? Many observers argue that the online identity war is over and Facebook has won. People use their Facebook IDs to log in to internet services. Why do they need something like Okta? “My belief is that people own their identities,” McKinnon told me. “And the tool to help unify identity will be the service of everyone, not the service of an advertising company. ‘
In other words: If you’re going to hand over the keys of your online existence – financial and medical, professional and personal – to a single company, you’re better off trusting.
And this is where Okta’s legacy as a boring software business could be its ultimate secret weapon. This era of technology has been shaped by big companies that figure out how to solve big problems, give consumers free solutions, and then regularly sell them out. With today’s dominant ad-support services, the prices are right, but you never get rid of the suspicion that someone is looking over your shoulder, deciding whether to sell your email address or show you. some shoes.
If all you’re doing is playing a game of chewing gum, you probably won’t care. But when was that your identity? You may want to put more price on that. If Okta can keep the company’s revenue constant, you can be confident that Okta isn’t sharing or selling your data or trying to sell you more.
Maybe Okta can get me straight to my Verizon Wireless account the next time I need it without having to rummage through my memory for forgotten guppies. Heck, if they can do it safely, maybe I will even pay them for the trouble.
Other ways to stay safe