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Okta forges ahead with new provisioning, mobility management features

Blair Hanley Frank | Nov. 4, 2015
The functionality should make the product more appealing to enterprise IT departments.

Okta mobility management OS X login page
The login page for Okta's mobility management product on OS X. Credit: Okta

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. 

 

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