Okta® Advanced Server Access

By Zach DeMeyer Posted April 6, 2019

Just recently, Okta® has decided to get into the privileged access management game. Okta Advanced Server Access is their new offering to do so. It’s intended to leverage Okta identities to authenticate with servers. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information available regarding the cost of Okta’s Advanced Server Access solution, or the full extent of its capabilities.

The Framework for Advanced Server Access

Okta’s Rise

Stepping back, we should understand Okta as a company to gain an appreciation for why they are branching out into a completely new area of the identity and access management (IAM) field. Okta has built an incredible business in the web application single sign-on (SSO) space. This area of identity management has come into prominence due to the shift to web apps, such as G Suite™, Salesforce®, Box™, GitHub, Slack, Trello™, and thousands of others.

Before Okta, most IT organizations were already leveraging Microsoft® Active Directory® as their core identity provider (IdP), but wanted to connect those identities to the multitude of web applications cropping up shortly after the turn of the millennia. That’s where first generation Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS), or web application SSO solutions came in. Okta and other vendors jumped on the opportunity and soon became some of the more widely used identity management tools on the market.

Okta’s Growth

As Okta has grown by selling into larger and larger enterprises, their appetite for handling more of the identity and access management function has grown. Over the past few years, they have created a user management system for web applications and mobile apps aimed at developers. Think of this solution as a competitor to Azure® AD B2C. Another critical area has been their focus on 2FA or two factor authentication, which is really targeting organizations such as Duo Security.

One of the biggest leaps Okta made recently was the acquisition of Azuqua. For a mere $52.2M, Okta incorporated the no-code application integration and workflow automation startup’s software into their fold.

The Value of Okta Advanced Server Access

With this new announcement around Advanced Server Access, Okta seems to be interested in taking on privileged access management (PAM) vendors, and perhaps even configuration automation tools such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible, and Salt. Interestingly, Okta appears to be shunning the traditional SSH key management approach in favor of their own PKI infrastructure.

While this new server access solution could be valuable for Okta’s largest enterprises, there are still significant challenges for IT admins in search of a next generation cloud identity management platform, especially for smaller, less-backed businesses. For these organizations, having Active Directory on-prem and then add-ons such as Okta and others can be challenging and expensive, not to mention time consuming to manage.

Modern Centralized Identity Management

The good news is that there is a modern approach to directory services that is integrating a number of critical identity and access management areas into one cloud-based offering. Called Directory-as-a-Service®, this modern IDaaS platform is centralized user management, system management, web application SSO, cloud LDAP, virtual RADIUS, 2FA, and more all in one platform. It has reimagined Active Directory for the cloud era of identity management.

Okta’s new Advanced Server Access is certainly a departure from their focus on web application single sign-on. On the other hand, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service is changing the way IT admins manage their organizations, streamlining identity management workflows into a single platform.

If you are interested in incorporating complete identity management into your organization, you can try JumpCloud, absolutely free, today. As a part of creating a JumpCloud account, your organization automatically receives ten users, which are free forever, to get you started. If you have any questions, you can contact us; our team would be happy to help you.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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