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 (Read more...)