Aug 02 2022

Review: Okta Grants Access to Necessary Apps for Authorized Employees Anywhere

A powerful security tool also drives productivity.

There’s a common misconception that increased security often comes at the expense of productivity. It’s true that traditionally, the act of adding more security often made it more difficult for users to get access to the data and applications they needed and for administrators to keep everything working properly. The single sign-on software solution from Okta shatters that old notion. It can provide a major boost to security while actually making things easer for users. And because it’s deployed as a service, administrators have little to do in the way of maintenance after the initial setup.

The Okta Identity Cloud can integrate with nearly every major web-based or mobile business application currently available. Once deployed, it delivers complete identity and access management (IAM) that can act as the core of even higher-security methods, such as zero trust. By grouping access to all a user’s applications under one security umbrella, only one password or authentication method is needed. Users log in to the Okta Identity Cloud, then the application provides access to everything else they need to do their jobs.

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Agencies May Grant Access for Designated Employees

Most important, this full-featured federation engine and flexible access policy is reliable. With government and state and local agencies at constant risk of hacking and social engineering attacks, Okta single sign-on empowers IT officials with the flexibility and scale of an IAM solution combined with the reliability of a cloud and mobile platform. 

This single view of all office applications makes Okta a dream for IT security and human resources. It’s easy to add new programs to the list of managed ones without having to add new passwords. For example, when pushing out a new training module or undergoing new benefit elections, HR can leverage the Okta Identity Cloud to facilitate access to materials for whoever needs it. Those who don’t need access may not even know that the new resources exist, which provides yet another layer of security.

Okta specs

Employees May Access Applications from Authorized Locations

In testing out the Okta Identity Cloud, we drew from years of experience using Okta software from the employee side in various roles and in different sectors. One key benefit of the Okta Identity Cloud, front and center in the latest offering, is the ability to switch over to new devices while still retaining access to important applications and files. If you’re working on a desktop and transferring to a laptop or tablet to head home for the night, the process is seamless without worry about file access or additional passwords.

Unlike legacy federation and access management systems, Okta single sign-on is lightweight and easy to deploy. Since there is only one login, IT security has less to keep track of from a password management perspective. Okta also scales to meet the demands of any state and local office, while securely connecting government employees and contractors to all of their cloud and on-premises applications across any of their devices.

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Human Resources May Simplify Onboarding and Offboarding 

Onboarding and offboarding employees can be challenging for state and local governments even though both are critical. If new employees are not onboarded in a timely way, they are essentially locked out of doing their jobs.

According to recent research by the Brandon Hall Group, organizations with a strong onboarding process can improve new hire retention by more than 80 percent. On the other end, the longer it takes to remove departing employees from the system, the longer a major security hole exists at an organization. 

Talent scarcity and high turnover rates are among the biggest challenges organizations face, especially within government as it competes with the private sector for top talent. Because of that, it is essential for state and local governments to engage with employees in a manner that drives retention and lets new employees become productive their first day at work. It’s no longer feasible to let them ride for a week while IT teams sort out their access to critical applications and files.

Instead, Okta can make it so that granting access to new employees is part of the hiring process itself. By the time they first set foot in the office or log in from their remote locations, all of their access rights have already been sorted. 

This is not a common practice. A recent Gallup poll discovered that only 12 percent of new employees at surveyed organizations thought their IT teams did a great job of onboarding them. That means 88 percent of respondents had a more negative view of their onboarding processes. So, there is a critical need for a solution like Okta, both for general productivity and to help retain talented employees. 

Given that a strong onboarding process can result in higher retention and productivity, there’s a huge opportunity for state and local agencies to leverage solutions like Okta. The fact that it’s also easy to deploy as a service just makes it an even more attractive way for state and local governments to gain an advantage over the private sector in the competition for talented workers.

OKTA IDENTITY CLOUD

SPECIFICATIONS

Software: Multifactor authentication
Aggregator: Works with online and appliance-based services
Form: Single sign-on authentication tool
Installation: Software as a Service
Software License: Subscription with discounts for large deployments

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