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ID verification simplifies cloud access

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Philip Turner, the newly appointed GM for European Operations at US-based identity management specialists Okta, told SC Magazine that opening of its central London office is spearheading international expansion, with the company expected to open offices in the main European centres over the coming year.

The company provides what it describes as unified secure identification for users using multiple devices and applications to access cloud-based resources in an enterprise network.  A multi-factoral approach includes user name, password and an app-generated 6 digit code which is constantly changing – with the simplicity of the system particularly designed to overcome the issue of people having 20 plus passwords for different apps, devices and services, and ending up writing them down, and thus compromising security, or even avoiding using apps because of the need to generate new passwords.

Turner emphasised, “We're not dipping our toe in the water.  By the end of year one we will have established a significant sales force and sales engineer team.  We already have a large number of users in Europe and (the speed of) further customer acquisition will dictate the number of additional staff, but there will be significant investment in Europe and in APAC too.”

With some 80 per cent of European organisations making use of some type of cloud services, the rate of expansion is forecast to replicate US expansion, where the parent company recently secured £17 million in the latest round of VC funding, taking the total investment in the last year to over £50 million, backed by leading tech VCs Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners and Khosla Ventures.

LinkedIn, Western Union and SAP are among Okta's US customers, with Gatwick Airport among UK clients where it is audited for security purposes. Asked who the competition was, Turner suggests that it is either legacy ID systems or other start-ups that are just getting going. Turner also says that the system delivers a return on investment, demonstrating security as a financial benefit thanks to the lower cost of provisioning and de-provisioning large distributed user-bases.  As Turner comments, once you are outside the firewall, “Identity is everything.”

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