Okta Identity Cloud review

Okta Identity Cloud is one of the most comprehensive integrated identity solutions out there.

Okta
(Image: © Okta)

TechRadar Verdict

While the price is a bit too steep for smaller organizations, Okta Identity Cloud is a great way to beef up the security in mid or large enterprises and significantly simplify issues regarding access rights and security. If your company is complex enough to make full use of multiple security and management tools packed into one cloud-based solution, then Okta Identity Cloud might just be the thing you need.

Pros

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    Single sign-on across multiple platforms

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    Multi-Factor Authentication

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    Robust lifecycle management options

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    Flexibility

Cons

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    Not well suited for smaller organizations

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    The inclusion of a desktop app would be nice

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Okta is on a mission to protect the identities of the customers and simplify secure access in a time where security is often compromised due to a large number of different technologies and apps an average employee needs to use. The Okta Identity Cloud is an integrated identity solution that does exactly that - it securely connects the right people to the right technologies and provides incredible flexibility in managing access in your company.

Don’t assume, however, that this enterprise product is a one-trick pony that only offers a couple of security measures. It doesn’t fall short on features that are indispensable in the modern world most organizations could find useful.

Let’s see everything this platform has got to offer:

Okta Identity Cloud security features

One of the main selling points of this comprehensive enterprise solution is the Single Sign-On (SSO) feature. Okta makes it quite easy for users to input a single set of credentials once to gain access to multiple different apps. 

The vendor reliably enables the integration of SSO with all of the apps you use and it also contains a full-fledged federation engine, as well as an expandable access policy.

Okta SSO is something everyone can implement as it’s easy to use and improves the lives of everyone in your company. Most importantly, it improves enterprise security as it cuts down on the number of possible attack surfaces.

Another layer of security in Okta Identity Cloud is the Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (opens in new tab). Due to most breaches happening because of stolen or weak credentials, introducing this security measure for all of the apps you use in your organization is a smart move.

Okta supports all kinds of work environments: cloud (opens in new tab), mobile, as well as hybrid environments. When it comes to methods of authentication available, it features everything you could ask for: from email and SMS, one-time passwords, physical tokens, all the way to biometric factors such as Apple Touch ID.

The biggest pro here is likely the fact that Okta’s multi-factor authentication features different kinds of adaptive and risk-based capabilities. It supports detection and authentication challenges for situations such as the use of a new device, the use of weak passwords, geographic changes, etc.

Management features

A great addition to this package is also a number of different management tools

First, API Access Management lets you manage all API authorization policies from a single point. You no longer need to spread them between different gateways and applications. This allows you to streamline policy creation and improve the processes of API maintenance and auditing.

You also get a Universal Directory which makes it easy to manage multiple identity (opens in new tab) sources such as employees, contractors, and so on. Again, Okta provides a single point that helps manage all of these groups regardless of the source or device.

Finally, there is Lifecycle Management. The days of waiting for admins to manually provision or de-provision users are over as everything related to lifecycles can be easily automated. For example, new employees receive access when they arrive, and if they leave, they immediately lose their secure access privileges.

Okta Identity Cloud interface

Okta Identity Cloud works on all systems and all the popular browsers. It’s also designed to work smoothly on mobile so you can manage everything even when you’re out of the office. The user experience is flawless in both the mobile app and desktop browser.

However, as of writing this review, there is no dedicated desktop app. Yes, the Okta Web Portal works great, however, the inclusion of a desktop app would be a plus.

Getting this platform up and running is simple. You can access the Web Portal through a browser or the nifty Okta Browser (opens in new tab) plugin (available on most browsers). You log in with a single click, and don’t need to re-enter any credentials again if you access different apps.

While the UI is intuitive and straightforward, it’s also bare-bones so you shouldn’t expect a lot of bells and whistles. What it lacks in looks, though, it makes up for in customization.

In the workflow-specific dashboard, you can rearrange the apps to better suit your workstyle (this includes personal apps such as social media too), or you can even let the software do it for you. 

Okta can also rearrange your workflow based on your most-used apps.

Pricing

If you’re interested in checking out Okta Identity Cloud, there is a 30-day trial. This is good news because the full experience might cost you quite a bit, so you better make sure that you need all of the features in this powerful platform.  

Luckily, Okta supports monthly payments. A single sign-on is going to cost you $2 per user, per month, and using the Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication is going to cost you $6 per user, per month. 
It might not seem a lot but it can add up quite quickly.

Additionally, the annual bill for using the full enterprise version is $42.000 a year while using one of the features will cost you around $17.000.

Final verdict

Okta Identity Cloud is one of the most comprehensive integrated identity solutions out there. It provides everything you need in a single package, regardless of your organizational structure. 

If you’re concerned about your employees’ security, there are plenty of ways you can benefit from using Okta.

It does multiple things extraordinarily well and covers all bases from security to full-on management. It’s simple to set up and it works on almost every platform, plus it’s straightforward to use. 

Still, if your company is in its relative infancy or doesn’t have a sizable workforce, then Okta Identity Cloud might not be for you - simply because of a steep entry price, not because it’s not good.

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.