With more applications being moved to the cloud and in an age of increased digital services, delivering security and customer experience has become a strategic business priority.
Capitalising on this trend, identity and access management vendor Okta is expanding its channel network with “like-minded” partners in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region to offer solutions rooted in a zero-trust security approach formed from an identity-first principle.
That is according to Ben Goodman, senior vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) for Okta, who took the reins of the regional business in July 2022.
Speaking to Channel Asia, the APJ leader observed that while employees have experienced a shift in the way global workforces are operating in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have likewise seen a change in the types of services offered to them, such as e-commerce, food delivery and digital experiences.
“This rapid take-up of mobile, cloud, and hybrid working has put pressure on organisations to replace increasingly redundant ‘castle and moat’ security models with more agile, holistic approaches centered on identity,” he added.
Sizing up the market
According to Okta’s The Role of Customer Identity Management in a Digital-First World survey, 78% of digital-first leaders agree that customer identity and access management (CIAM) is among their top investment priorities.
However, a lack of in-house expertise and talent shortages have posed as barriers to organisations seeking to implement CIAM solutions.
“Some organisations that decided to develop CIAM solutions in-house ended up spending too much time and resources building the identity management platform from scratch, where these resources could have been better utilised in driving innovation and business growth,” shared Goodman.
“This is further exacerbated by accelerated shifts to cloud and digital, as threat actors take advantage of disappearing network perimeters and fast-evolving ecosystems.”
He categorised the notion of securing customers’ digital identities as “table stakes” for an organisation looking to deliver a successful digital-first strategy, and touted CIAM technologies as a “necessity” to equip businesses with better visibility and defences against cyber threats and attacks across systems.
“Our recently announced partnership with Odin Information in Taiwan is testament to our growing network of partners across the region, as well as our commitment to spur further adoption of CIAM and workforce identity solutions and in turn enable secure, seamless access to any technology on any device,” he said.
Okta is also said to be actively working with technology and alliance partners to grow its Integration Network. It currently has more than 7,000 enterprises plugged into the vendor’s identity and authentication ecosystem for both workforce and customer-facing applications, with existing customers such as insurance company AIA Group.
Role of the channel
Channel partners have a vital role in promoting a zero-trust security approach and integrating it with an identity-first security posture in their solutions, viewed Goodman.
“At Okta, our partner ecosystem is at the centre of what we do. Channel partners are an important part of our strategy to further spur the adoption of zero trust and identity-first security approach by leveraging the local expertise and regional network of our partners,” he added.
Equipping its partners with an expanded solution stack, the vendor recently introduced its Customer Identity Cloud (CIC) solution, which is designed to resolve the tension between security, privacy, and user experience for end-users.
Expected outcomes for businesses that leverage this solution include improvement in the overall user experience and ensuring security while providing more personalised digital experiences.
Additionally, Okta outlined that product innovations for modern app builders will aid in speeding up progress with a “better user experience, reduced risk, and greater developer productivity”.
“By adopting zero trust security, channel partners and customer organisations can better position themselves to overcome the challenges presented by hybrid work, e-commerce and digital services by adopting an identity-centric approach to network and resource access rather than relying on outdated security models based on the traditional network perimeter,” Goodman explained.
Supporting women in STEM education and ICT
Goodman has reiterated efforts to promote STEM education and ICT roles for women across the region, describing Okta to be a “long-time” supporter of the movement.
The company has championed this via its Okta for Good program, in which initiatives formed under it aim to enable Okta to be a “catalyst for those making change at the intersection of humanity and technology”.
“By mobilising our people, products, and dollars, we enable non-profit digital transformation, empower more equitable communities, and develop ecosystems that drive long-term change for people and the planet,” added Goodman.
“Okta For Good is also proud to support and partner with United Women Singapore (UWS) for its inaugural STEM Festival, and this event is part of the Girls2Pioneers STEM Programme which aims to bring together students, parents, educators, educational institutions, corporates and STEM professionals under one roof to showcase the potential of STEM fields in shaping our future.”