The average security breach costs companies million of dollars and untold damage from the loss of consumer confidence. With more and more data being stored on remote servers throughout the world, protecting that information is vital.
That’s where my pick for this month’s top software-as-a-service (SaaS) stock comes in: identity manager Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA). Read on to see why the company’s stock has tripled since going public two years ago, and why I think there’s still lots of room for it to grow.
What Okta does
Okta has a very clearly delineated mission and vision:
- Mission: to improve the connection between people and tools to make people more productive and secure.
- Vision: to enable any organization to use any technology.
For investors who might not be familiar with the ins and outs of cyber-identities, this helps clarify where Okta sits in the value chain. It simply wants to make it possible for groups to safely use technology. It does this by managing tools that ensure a person (or “user”) is who they say they are. Since a lot of work isn’t done face-to-face anymore, this is vitally important. Okta helps people sign on and gain access to data and tools.
One way to think about how this works is to examine how you might sign into a site like GrubHub or Pinterest. Often, you can use your Google or Facebook account to gain access — since you’ve already signed on to those sites. There’s no need to remember a password for each additional platform since you can just use one of these two.
However, in the business world, the data is usually more sensitive. Additional levels of security are required.
Traditionally, companies would protect data stored on their servers in a “castle-and-moat” fashion. If someone was trying to access data from inside an organization — for instance, trying to view a company’s files from a port inside the company’s headquarters — it was automatically granted access. Attempts to access data from the outside were either denied, or the user had to jump through hoops to gain access.
That approach is quickly fading. Too often, hackers can get access into a user’s profile via a virus and access very sensitive material. In its stead, “zero trust” is the strategy of choice. This means a system doesn’t trust anyone — whether from an organization or not — without first identifying exactly who they are.
Okta does this through its recently renamed Okta Identity Engine. It offers companies the tools to grant access and manage identities for both employees and customers.
There’s no better way to gauge the interest in Okta’s offerings than by examining the number of customers it has signed on over the years…
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