Okta Charges Up Channel Program Around Cloud-Based Identity Management


Businesses migrating to Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite, are adopting stronger authentication and privilege management measures, according to security vendor Okta, which is adding support and incentives to its channel program to attract systems integrators and other cloud migration specialists. 

San Francisco-based Okta said it is reaching out to Microsoft national system integrator partners to get its cloud-based identity management platform in front of businesses migrating systems to the cloud. The use of other subscription-based services, such as Salesforce.com for CRM, Workday for financial and HR requirements, and Jive for communication and collaboration tools, have prompted a look at single sign-on, said Bill Fitzgerald, vice president of channel sales at Okta.

"Regional partners are critical in helping clients adopt cloud-based apps and getting them quickly activated and creating a seamless experience for provisioning and single sign-on for on-premise and cloud apps," Fitzgerald said. "We're building a strong distributed partner ecosystem to take advantage of the interest in our fast-growing segment of the security market."

[Related: Channel Sees Identity Management Market In Flux]

Solution providers are also seeing growth in tying SaaS-based identity and access management platforms to solve client concerns over cloud migration projects. SaaS-based identity management vendors are continually adding functions to their platforms, said Tyson Kopczynski, a security solution principal at Slalom Consulting in San Francisco. The company's security practice is growing significantly with Okta, often getting coupled with other security products during the Office 365 or SharePoint migration process. Businesses are reducing the footprint of legacy, on-premise identity and access management platforms, Kopczynski said.

"It's definitely a good time to be in the space right now with all the major consulting firms investing heavily in it, because it's definitely something organizations are clamoring to solve," Kopczynsi said.

Okta is taking a hybrid sales approach with about 25 percent of deals going through channel partners globally, Fitzgerald said. It has 120 global partners and is adding regional channel managers as it grows out its ecosystem. The company recently unveiled a four-tier channel program that gives up to 30 percent net margins on sales and 10 percent on referral margins. Platinum, Gold and Silver partners gain access to MDF and phone and email access to technical support, Fitzgerald said.

Okta also is hiring a Microsoft channel sales lead to spearhead deals with Microsoft regional and national systems integrator partners, Fitzgerald said.

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