The core foundation of Okta® is single sign-on (SSO). It’s how they how built their name in the IT market. And, despite Okta’s high price, they’re still a market leading solution. Years ago, when single sign-on was first introduced, the solution made a great deal of sense. IT networks started with the foundation of Windows®-based systems and applications, which were all located on-prem. These Windows-based IT resources were connected together via Microsoft® Active Directory® and the Windows domain controller. But, applications wouldn’t remain on-prem forever, and Okta stepped in to help facilitate access to web applications.
Active Directory and the Need for Okta SSO
As web applications started to gain popularity, a new generation of identity management appeared. Because Active Directory was slow to connect users to these off-prem, non-Windows resources, companies like Okta and their SSO solution emerged to fill the gap. These web app SSO solutions were effectively an add-on to Active Directory, and they worked by federating the core identity (provided by AD) to web applications. As IT organizations expand beyond with AWS®, macOS®, Linux®, and more, a new core identity provider is needed.
Add-Ons, Breakdowns, and New Thinking
The approach of AD plus Okta worked well for large-scale enterprises that could afford the per user costs, integration, and management requirements. The problem was, though, that it wasn’t just web applications that were making an appearance in IT environments. For example: data centers soon moved to hosted solutions from AWS®, Windows laptops and desktops were getting replaced by Linux and macOS systems, NAS / Samba devices as well as G Drive™ / Box™ replaced traditional file servers, and WiFi became ubiquitous replacing the wired networks of old. The Active Directory plus add-ons approach started to break down as more and more solutions were stacked on top of AD to accommodate innovative new technologies. It came down to a simple truth: there were simply too many one-offs and exceptions that created additional IT work and cost.
The breakdown of AD and the add-on approach (Read more...)