A new report from Okta, a Cloud-based integrated identity management and mobility management company, claims that the Cloud is levelling the field for small businesses and that use of Cloud services is set to rise and rise.
Okta’s Business@Work report was based on its 2500 customers, and looked at the 4000 apps they use, together with their vast number of integrations and daily logins – so they’re quick to point out that as a cloud-first identity and mobility management company, their customers ‘are likely to be more cloud- and mobile-friendly than your average bear.’
The Cloud is Levelling the Field
‘Company size is no longer a strong predictor of how many cloud or mobile apps a company uses, or how they secure them—most businesses use between 11 and 16 off-the-shelf cloud apps,’ says the report. ‘The new computing environment allows businesses of every shape and size to provide tools that employees, partners and contractors need. The smallest companies now have access to the same tools, services and apps that large enterprises do.’
Businesses Are Hungry For the Cloud
‘Businesses are making aggressive efforts to enable their partners, customers and contractors through new cloud-based applications, websites, or portals,’ says the report.
However, enterprise apps can rise and fall in popularity very quickly. ‘It’s more important than ever to constantly provide value to users, or they’ll leave as soon as something better comes along,’ Okta warns. While certain enterprise apps have remained in favour – Salesforce.com in CRM, AWS in infrastructure and Box in content management – Okta found that among those faltering is Google Apps, which is now ‘trailing Microsoft Office 365 in almost every category.’
The company have been tracking app usage since 2012, with Salesforce retaining its position as most deployed app since that time. However, in January Okta’s figures showed a change at the top. ‘Our data clearly shows that Microsoft Office 365 has rapidly become the most deployed application worldwide.’
So what apps are on the up? In Q2 of this year, the use of Slack, a real-time messaging, archiving, search and collaboration tool, was up 50% – and Okta has found that it’s more popular with small and mid-sized companies, while large companies tend to choose Workday.
Higher Security a priority for SMEs too
The use of security questions that confirm your identity using your pet’s name, birthplace and mother’s maiden name is decreasing rapidly. So what are businesses using instead? MFA.
While MFA (multi-factor authentication) tools like SMS and mobile push notifications were originally developed for large companies, Cloud-based solutions have meant they’re available to companies of all sizes, and adoption has increased by 50% in the last year. ‘We’re seeing just as much adoption in the smaller companies as we are in the large ones. Okta customers across all geographies and company sizes protect applications and infrastructure with multi- factor authentication.’
Developers are also designing apps with SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) ‘baked in from the start.’ SAML uses single-use, expiring tokens to exchange authentication and authorization data between a trusted identity provider and an application, eliminating the need for remembering usernames and passwords. Six times more apps are SAML enabled than two years ago.
As to the future, Okta says it’s betting on biometric authentication as ‘the next big factor of authentication for businesses.’ And what of Cloud adoption?
‘The results are in and the verdict is clear: it’s business time for cloud and mobile.’