By Natalie Bluhm Posted January 10, 2018
With Okta going public recently, there is no doubt that the competition in the web application single sign-on (SSO) space is heating up. The stakes are high considering the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry is projected to be worth $55 billion dollars by the end of 2018 (Gartner), and the competition just intensified with AWS’ recent announcement that they will be entering the SSO market as well. All of this Okta competition is creating significant opportunity for IT organizations to reevaluate their identity management strategy and approach.
In order to effectively evaluate an identity management approach, we need to take a look at why the SSO market is so critical and important. To do that, we need to start with the beginnings of SSO, and this story kicks off in the 1990’s.
The Evolution Behind the Okta Competition
The advent of the modern identity management space really started in 1993 when our advisor Tim Howes and his colleagues at the University of Michigan created LDAP. This invention spawned two major core directory services – OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). Of course, we know that AD has become the dominant identity provider in the industry. The reason is because at the time of AD’s creation, Microsoft Windows was the dominant platform and Microsoft Office was the leading choice for productivity applications. Within this Microsoft ecosystem, IT admins had a much easier time managing users and systems. Subsequently, Microsoft systems and applications abounded, and Active Directory reigned the directory services market.
Then, the world started to shift away from Microsoft resources as web applications emerged. The key here is that they were non-Windows applications, so the core identity provider AD struggled. Active Directory just wasn’t built to connect with this new modern resource, and a new category of solutions surfaced to handle the situation. This category was initially dubbed web application single sign-on, but now is more frequently known as IDaaS (Identity-as-a-Service). A number of companies have thrown their hat in the IDaaS space, including some very large ones that have either gone public, been purchased, or who decided to add this category to their IAM solutions. This has profoundly increased the competition across what seems like an ocean of SSO providers.
A Gap Among the Okta Competition
What’s interesting is that as time has marched on, web applications weren’t the only shift in the IT landscape. Mac and Linux systems became more prevalent, and their growth is continuing. In the U.S. alone, Mac has claimed 20% of the desktop operating system market share over the last decade. Cloud infrastructure provided by vendors such as AWS are replacing data centers. Windows file servers are being replaced by Samba file servers, NAS appliances, and cloud storage providers such as Box and Dropbox.
With this in mind, it is clear that Okta and its competition are only solving one part of the problem. Reevaluating your identity and access management infrastructure needs to include the core identity provider because this is the heart of the problem. If you really want to start taking advantage of the low costs and scalability modern resources have to offer, you need a holistic approach, one that cannot be found among the many IDaaS players. If you are looking for a more substantive solution to centralize your environment, Directory-as-a-Service® is the solution you need.
Okta Competition Contends with a Modern Identity Provider
Directory-as-a-Service not only connects users to web-based applications, but offers them frictionless access to legacy apps, systems (Mac, Linux, Windows), local servers and those hosted in IaaS platforms (AWS, GCP, IBM), physical and virtual file storage, and wired and wireless networks. Users are able to take advantage of today’s modern resources while IT enjoys a secure directory service that centralizes all of the IT resources in their environment, not just web-based applications.
Learn more about True SSO
Learn more by reading Grab’s case study and how they centralized 3000+ users access to systems, G Suite, LDAP and SAML based applications, and networks via RADIUS-as-a-Service. Ready to start trying it out for yourself? Explore all of our features by signing up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever. If you have any questions about our cloud-based Active Directory alternative or the Okta competition, please reach out to us. We’ll gladly answer any of your questions.