Okta forges ahead with new provisioning, mobility management features

The functionality should make the product more appealing to enterprise IT departments

Identity management company Okta has announced a bundle of updates for its enterprise-facing products, trying to attract new business customers ahead of a planned public stock offering next year.

First off, Okta Mobility Management is getting support for Android for Work, which will help the product better manage devices running Google's mobile operating system. While the service already works with Android and iOS, this new capability lets IT departments create one profile for Android devices, and keep personal and company information separated on employees' smartphones and tablets. 

The product will also be able to manage Macs in the near future, with PCs coming after that. That means IT departments will soon be able to manage not only smartphones and tablets from the Okta Mobility Management console, but also fleets of computers.

The updates also include support for letting IT managers set up private app stores through the Okta Application Network. That way, they'll be able to dictate which applications people within the company can use on their work devices, and automatically install key software right off the bat.

That couples with a new feature that lets IT managers preconfigure mobile applications so that users can have key information filled in when they open up a new application from their workplace. 

The announcements were made Tuesday at Okta's annual user conference in Las Vegas.

Even with all of those updates, Okta Chief Product Officer Eric Berg said that it's important for the company to maintain its stance as an identity provider with an open platform, and not just push its own stack. Because the company's customers are going to work with a diverse set of vendors to get other applications, Okta needs to work broadly to meet its customers' needs.

"We have to support all of those vendors very well and very deeply, because otherwise we lose out on our value proposition," he said. 

In addition to the mobility management news, the company is improving its Cloud Provisioning product with a new SDK that lets companies build their applications to integrate with Okta without requiring the identity management company to build the connection itself. For example: LinkedIn's facilities team wanted to use EventBoard, but the service (which provides conference room displays and analytics) wasn't in high enough demand to make it a huge priority for Okta's engineers. Using the SDK, EventBoard was able to build the integration itself. 

It's an important enhancement for Cloud Provisioning, which allows people in an organization to provision applications that integrate with Okta for new users without requiring the help of an IT department. It's useful for dealing with purpose-built applications that are just used by one or two particular divisions of the company and aren't part of the normal process of getting an employee started with a new job. 

Developers that want to integrate with Okta will still have to go through a review process in order to ensure that their application is secure and works as intended, but it should make the process faster and easier for those businesses that have specialized applications. 

Pushing its mobility management product, along with expanding the firm's development platform, may seem like something of a shift for Okta, which built its business on providing cloud-based identity management. But Berg said that expanding beyond simple identity management was a part of how the company thought about itself from the get-go.

"So we sort of had a fundamental bet that not only was building a solution around identity important, but starting and focusing in something that was identity-centric was going to be a critical starting point," he said. "And then, we’ve evolved in a relatively practical way around how we’ve seen customer needs evolve."

Having a strong foothold in multiple markets will be key for Okta going forward. CEO Todd McKinnon said previously that the company plans to make its initial public offering next summer. It's competing in some crowded markets against a whole group of tech titans including Microsoft.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?