Exploring the origins of Okta
Okta was started by Todd McKinnon (CEO) and Frederic Kerrest (COO), former Salesforce employees. They saw that the cloud wasn't just a product for the big leagues. They predicted it would be necessary for anyone who would want to grow their business. They started the business in the middle of the 2008 recession, with Andreessen Horowitz investing as one of the first capital injections for Okta in 2010. In 2017, Okta went public with its IPO and valuation of $1.2 billion.
The name Okta is derived from the unit of measurement for clouds covering the sky at any given moment. On the scale, 0 okta is a clear blue sky and 8 oktas is completely overcast. The wordplay of Okta (in Greek, octa is 8) and the fact that Okta wants to cover all of the cloud access by becoming the identity standard, thus creating a completely overcast sky (8 oktas), is well thought out.
Since Okta came into the space of IAM, they have steadily grown to the leading vector...
A complete user and system management setup isn't just in one product, nor is it one vendor. A complete view of all sections within and outside of the organization is best done by utilizing different tools.
This combination and their deep integrations make it possible to create a fine-knit layer of security and insights on top of everything, flexible enough to allow exceptions, but strong enough to fight off anything considered harmful to the users, content, data, or organization.
An IAM system can be seen as a collection of different elements and tools to deliver this. It can be considered that the following functionalities are part of, but not limited to, an organization's toolkit:
Discovering Okta's basic features
- Universal Directory (UD)
- Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (AMFA)
- Lifecycle Management (LCM)
It's not always obvious in the administrator portal where one product starts and another one ends. This will be clarified in this book. The products will all be explained with practical examples in the coming chapters, but here is an initial overview.
UD can be considered as the foundation of any Okta setup. UD is the directory of your users and groups. Users can be mastered by Okta, by other directories, or by an HR system. For organizations with multiple directories, such as AD, LDAP, and an HR system, Okta offers a complete 360 view of the users and their attributes. Users can be sorted into groups created in Okta and imported from a directory or...
Okta's advanced features
If your organization needs to go deeper than general IAM, you might need to look at Okta's more advanced features.
Okta Advanced Server Access
Okta ASA lets us extend our zero-trust practices toward server accounts. Okta can manage access to both user or service accounts to Linux or Windows servers across different cloud vendors, such as GCP, AWS, and Azure, or on-premises servers. In Okta, your admins get a great overview of who has access to what and can see individual logins in log reports. ASA works with a lightweight agent and is installed in your infrastructure landscape.
Okta Access Gateway
Okta Access Gateway (OAG) makes it possible to implement modern cloud-based access management to legacy on-premises applications. With this product, you can gather all your identity needs in one place, making it easier to manage. It's easy to integrate, with templates and native on-premises integrations. By replacing your current Web Access...
In this chapter, we learned basic details about IAM and how Okta works as a great solution to any IAM needs. We've learned about the scenarios in which Okta emerges as an IAM solution. Finally, we learned about the features of Okta and how they work with various platforms to give us dynamic control over user accounts within our organizations. All of this information forms the basis of our understanding for the rest of the book, where we will take a deeper look at Okta and how to make use of all its features.
In the next chapter, we will learn how to work with UD by setting it up and configuring it. We will learn how to add or import users and explore the most important features and policies to help us use UD efficiently.