Okta is the big kid on the playground in the identity management (IDM) space, and for good reason. From a feature standpoint, the market leader is competitive with any of the other vendors we’ve surveyed, and a head above most. When most of your competitors’ products include an easy path for their customers to integrate with yours, you know you’re doing something right. While Okta remains somewhat pricey, its feature breadth and solid overall platform earn it our Editors’ Choice award in this round of IDM testing along with VMware Workspace One Access.
Not only does Okta cover every major feature category, but in many cases, its implementation of any given feature is more efficient and offers the most options to choose from. For instance, Okta offers customizable workflows which give you the tools to automate scenarios with an impressive level of flexibility. Also, Okta’s options for integration with mobile device management (MDM) solutions such as VMware Workspace One UEM, MobileIron, and Microsoft Intune are not only at the head of the class, but they’re easy to use, too.
Configuring your directory to synchronize with Okta is a straightforward operation: Download and install the agent, log into your account, configure a few basic settings, and you’re ready to import users and groups. Okta offers the ability to automate this process fully or to require users to be imported and/or activated manually. Attribute management and mappings are also available for individual directories, as are basic preferences such as how to handle deactivation and changes to attributes (with the option to use your directory as the master or to inherit changes from other systems).
While other IDM solutions integrate with a few human resource (HR) systems, Okta’s positioning as an extensible platform is mature enough that the company offers integration capabilities for BambooHR, UltiPro, SAP SuccessFactors, and more. Each of these can be configured as a system of record for individual attributes, which can then flow to directories or applications based on your individual business needs.
Okta’s workflows provide a huge amount of flexibility in exchange for varying levels of effort, and they come in a few different categories. You can configure automations to run on a schedule and perform certain actions when members of specified groups exceed an inactivity threshold or when a password expiration is due. Full workflows support a vast array of complexity and connectors that range from Google Workspace apps and Microsoft 365 to much more advanced services like the ones found in Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. Workflows can trigger based on events within Okta or events that occur in connected apps, and perform actions in Okta with advanced logic such as lookups, string manipulation, and even connectivity to third-party APIs.
Most IDM suites offer some level of help with getting SSO into applications configured and enabled. Generally, some very basic instructions are provided about where to configure the SSO connection on the application side. This is by necessity a manual process—indeed, a herculean effort for any IDM considering the number of applications available in vendors’ app catalogs and any number of changes that may occur on the application end.
Okta does a better job than most of keeping these instructions up to date, typically making implementation a matter of copying and pasting rather than having to disassemble URL strings or navigate around the app to find required details. Okta also offers a number of extra options for individual applications, including a direct sign-in link and the ability to use custom login or access error pages.
A major factor in selecting an IDM platform involves how flexible a solution it is. Not only are all businesses different in how they manage identities and applications, but each business may have different needs for different apps, and requirements can change even more as organizations evolve.
A prime example of Okta’s flexibility is in-app assignments. You can easily assign users or groups directly to individual applications, or use a separate tool to assign multiple apps to multiple individuals at once. Each application can also be enabled for self-service, allowing users to search for the app and add it to their portal or request approval from one or more users or groups. Assignment reports (current assignments and recent assignment removals) can be executed from an application’s settings page, letting you easily monitor current access and changes.
Okta offers policies broken out in specific locations around the platform covering key areas such as apps, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and behavior detection. While not strictly a policy feature, integration with device management platforms is integral in determining the level of risk involved with a particular user action. Device trust allows integration with a variety of tools used for device management, including the top MDM platforms mentioned above for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
MFA is one of the most common reasons to use an IDM solution, and Okta offers a number of MFA factors and makes enabling them easy. Additionally, you have the option to configure policies regarding factor enrollment, such as requiring executives to have an enrolled RSA token and standard users to have SMS or email required, but optionally offer the use of authenticator apps like Google Authenticator or Okta Verify (Okta’s mobile app MFA solution).
Sign-on policies can be applied to individual applications in order to fine-tune the authentication requirements imposed prior to a user gaining access, including evaluating whether a trusted device is being used or the authentication attempt exceeds a risk threshold based on prior behavior. Sign-on policies can prevent a user from authenticating altogether, or require an additional factor if certain conditions are met.
One nice thing with Okta’s take on behavior detection is that you can tune individual factors being evaluated for risk based on your needs. In some cases, this is based on the specificity of the factor itself (for location-based factors, say, you may not be concerned about an authentication attempt from a new city or state, but one from a new country may raise some flags). You also have control over how many previous authentication attempts are used to identify a pattern of use.
Okta’s pricing structure is more complex than many competitors’ because much of it is a la carte. However, it’s also quite competitive, though the company dictates a minimum contract of $1,500 annually, which means ultra-small businesses may need to seek a lower-cost solution such as BIO-key PortalGuard.
Single-sign-on (SSO) features are available starting at $2 monthly per user and include options such as basic MFA, application access policies, and integration with unlimited directories (Active Directory and LDAP). To get behavior-based policies, you can upgrade to adaptive SSO for $5 monthly per user. Additional MFA factors can be acquired with the MFA add-on for an additional $3 monthly per user, and context-based MFA enforcement is available with an Adaptive MFA option for $6 per user per month.
Lifecycle management is offered in standard and advanced tiers for $4 or $6 monthly per user respectively. The former adds things like provisioning into applications, approval workflows, application access reports, and attribute handling, while the advanced service offers automations and full workflows. For an additional $2 monthly per user, an advanced lifecycle management mastering add-on supports bringing in identities from HR applications.
Okta is somewhat complex to purchase and configure unless you’re an IT pro with some IDM experience, but its breadth of features will satisfy virtually any scenario. That and its host of solid management tools overcome its higher price tag and earn Okta our Editors’ Choice award in this round of IDM testing.
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SAP : Changing Our Reality for the Better by Moving Toward a Sustainable World – marketscreener.com
Gone are the days when companies discussed the why of sustainable business practices. Today, it is all about the how.
How can businesses take climate action? How can they turn linear processes into circular resources and product flows? How can they ensure socially responsible value chains? And ultimately, how can they integrate economic, environmental, and social performance into strategic decision-making?
These questions are top of mind for executives. In 2021, sustainability became the top trending topic for the C-suite.
At SAP, we deliver answers to these questions through our products. Our customers can benefit from solutions that help them achieve zero emissions, zero waste, zero inequality, as well as holistic steering and reporting of their sustainability efforts.
Last year, we launched three new solutions: SAP Product Footprint Management, SAP Responsible Design and Production, and SAP Sustainability Control Tower. All are embedded SAP S/4HANA cloud-native applications that are delivered in a modular way and built on top of SAP Business Technology Platform.
What is more, we are embedding sustainability across SAP’s entire solution portfolio. A recent example is the inclusion of product footprints in SAP Integrated Business Planning, so customers can monitor the greenhouse gas emissions from their production plants. Another example is the integration of SAP Sustainability Control Tower with SAP SuccessFactors solutions, enabling customers to obtain insights into how their organization is faring on crucial aspects such as diversity and inclusion.
For the last 50 years, our innovative solutions have helped our customers transform their business processes and stay ahead in rapidly changing business environments. And we will continue to take and enable organizations of any size and in any industry to take a transformative approach to sustainability as well.
Quick fixes that do not get to the root cause of problems won’t make businesses more sustainable in the long run. Fragmented sustainability strategies won’t help. Sustainable business strategies will. That is why we support companies in integrating sustainability into the heart of their business processes.
Our approach pays off. Today, the most sustainable companies run our software. According to our analysis of S&P Trucost Limited data and S&P Global ESG Scores for 2021, SAP customers with high digital maturity – those adopting SAP’s latest technologies – on average have 75% better environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores compared to their industry peers. They also produce 24% less CO2 emissions than the market average.
To further facilitate the sustainability transformation for our customers, we recently launched a new offering. SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises is a flexible bundle of sustainability-specific applications. It allows businesses to adopt our solutions based on the current stage of their sustainability transformation. Depending on where they stand, they can implement holistic management or start with specific areas of sustainability performance.
The past year has been all about delivering the tools that help businesses transition into sustainable enterprises. So, what’s next? 2022 will be the year to implement these tools globally in close collaboration with our customers and partners.
Ultimately, the transition to a more sustainable global economy is not something one company can achieve on its own. In today’s interconnected world, we must rely on our ecosystem to ensure sustainability across the entire value chain. Let’s make 2022 the year we transition toward a more sustainable world, together.
Thomas Saueressig is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE leading SAP Product Engineering.
SAP SE published this content on 14 January 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 14 January 2022 08:11:06 UTC.
Google's SAP on GCP investments may pay off – TechTarget
Tomasz Zajda – Fotolia
Google doesn’t want its cloud platform to be considered the third-best public cloud hyperscaler for SAP S/4HANA workloads.
The multinational tech company in Mountain View, Calif., is making a clear push to market its Google Cloud Platform (GCP), a suite of cloud computing services, as the preferred destination for SAP systems. One of Google’s most significant moves is its considerable investment in data centers that are dedicated to running SAP ERP systems and other SAP applications on GCP, said Snehanshu Shah, managing director of SAP partnerships at Google.
The data centers are located in Frankfurt, Germany, not far from SAP headquarters in Walldorf, and provide three specific functions for SAP on GCP, according to Shah. They are as follows:
“These data centers are all built by Google, they’re all exactly the same, the entire stack is completely vertically integrated,” Shah said. “There’s an enormous amount of security that goes into this and we want to protect customer data, so everything is encrypted in flight. The SAP workloads are in our data centers because we built our own virtual machines to control all of this infrastructure.”
SAP customers want two basic but essential characteristics in their public cloud environment, Shah explained: They need to make sure that their mission-critical systems don’t go down, and they need their systems to be highly scalable.
One thing that has changed dramatically in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the willingness of companies to put mission-critical systems in the public cloud, Shah said.
“For SAP customers, there’s a massive move to public cloud between all the hyperscalers, so you’re no longer the first, you’re the thousandth,” he said.
He believes interest is skyrocketing for a few reasons including resiliency and security.
“Cost and business continuity is one thing that we’re seeing with COVID, the other is security,” he said. “The amount of security resources that any public cloud has dwarfs anything that even a large Fortune 100 company can have, and that’s critical for a lot of SAP customers because at the end of the day its financial data and you do not want anybody tapping into that.”
Rodan + Fields, a skin care company in San Francisco, is one SAP customer that has taken advantage of GCP’s single instance public cloud capabilities.
Rodan + Fields sells its products directly to consumers via its website and through a network of 300,000 consultants. The company has an SAP-based environment that includes SAP ECC and SAP Hybris, according to Steve Dee, Global CIO and CTO at Rodan + Fields. The company initially hosted its SAP systems on a private cloud network but decided to move to GCP two years ago when the private cloud couldn’t handle increasing business demands.
The business has huge spikes at certain times of the year, such as at the end of each month when consultants tend to increase their sales activities, and Dee said they needed to have a public cloud environment that provided stability, security and scalability.
“We rarely go on sale, and when we do, it generates a huge amount of demand,” Dee said. “For example, on Memorial Day we did 10 to 15 times the amount that we’d do on a normal day. So, the ability for us to scale in those spikes is one of the top reasons for being on Google Cloud.”
Rodan + Fields is running its e-commerce sites on SAP Hybris and is using SAP ECC for its back-end business systems but is planning an S/4HANA migration in 2021, Dee said. It will also make the ERP migration easier, as it takes away the need to think about all the infrastructure and application management issues, he said.
“That’s one benefit of the cloud; it takes managing infrastructure from the buy, build out, wire, all your heating, cooling needs — you don’t have to worry about managing a data center, you just have to worry about the functionality,” he said. “As we think about next-generation technologies like S/4HANA, the faster you can get there the better, and it gives you options around machine learning and more automation.”
SAP on GCP may get a leg up on the other cloud hyperscalers because several ex-SAP executives work at Google, said Jon Reed, analyst and co-founder of Diginomica Ltd., an enterprise computing news and analysis site. That roster includes Shah, who spent 11 years at SAP, as well as Rob Enslin, president of Google Cloud sales, who was formerly the president of SAP cloud business group.
“Google Cloud is something of a dark horse [as a public cloud hyperscaler] because of all the SAP cross-pollination within Google Cloud,” Reed said. “There are pros and cons to each different cloud environment, and that’s part of what customers will look at going forward, so Google having so many SAP engineers under the hood, in theory, would provide them with some valuable capabilities.”
Google’s ex-SAP contingent can be a critical difference as SAP wants its customers to see the public cloud as a place to get the most out of S/4HANA’s modern ERP capabilities, he said.
“One thing that SAP has been hammering away about lately is this idea that the hyperscalers can provide the same level of experience and access to innovation, rather than just throwing up your ERP system into the cloud and just letting it sit there,” Reed said.
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Cyclone Computer wins $73.3M of deals as education ministry project costs grow – Reseller News
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Project costs are rising on major ICT initiatives at the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education, in Wellington.
Cyclone Computer led the contracts list at the Ministry of Education in 2021, sealing a renewed $49.8 million device and services deal.
In addition, the reseller scored a $23.5 million finance deal through subsidiary Cyclone Finance.
The device and services deal on its own eclipsed contracts awarded to large construction companies building schools and other facilities nationwide. Extending the decades-long relationship will see Cyclone to continue to supply customised devices to the education sector and a host of associated services.
Cyclone is known to resell HP, Lenovo, Google and Microsoft devices and software among others as well as Aruba wi-fi systems.
The ministry told Reseller News the company was the service provider of the TELA (digital devices for principals and teachers) scheme and also provided end-to-end services including supplier and stock management, service desk, warranty, indemnity repairs and financing.
During the last twelve months Cyclone has changed the financing arrangement for the TELA scheme from TRL Leasing to Cyclone Finance reducing costs, the ministry said.
Cyclone also provided a large number of education-ready devices under the all of government IT hardware agreement to support learning from home as part of the ministry’s COVID-19 response.
Also at the ministry, the bills for a couple of large ICT projects have grown significantly.
One project, called the education resourcing system (ERS), began life with a budget of $17.4 million but has now cost or is estimated to cost $63.9 million.
The ERS will manage approximately $8.4 billion of funding for schools and early learning services each year, replacing a complex thirty-year-old system and around 50 associated systems and data sources.
The ministry said the original estimates for the cost of delivery in 2015 underestimated the scale and complexity of changes to associated systems.
“After establishing the core platform and taking into account policy changes since that estimate was prepared, the remainder of the work was re-estimated,” Scott Evans, Hautū (leader) infrastructure and digital said.
“Subsequently, additional funding was sought. The programme has now been allocated funding sufficient to complete the delivery of a fit-for-purpose solution.
“This programme has not overrun and is forecast to remain within budget.”
The ERS was being implemented through multiple releases aligned to ministry funding cycles and enabling new government policy initiatives.
“Initial elements have been operating successfully since October 2018, with the new system enabling rapid COVID-19 related funding to the sector in 2020 and 2021,” Evans said.
Adoption of the system is above 96 per cent for playgroups while the initial functionality for schools has an adoption rate of more than 99 per cent.
The ERS programme was on schedule for the next three major releases from June 2022 to support the 2023 school year, Evans said. The next release date, for early learning services, is October 2023.
The ministry itself is the systems integrator on the ERS project, which is is primarily based on Microsoft .NET and Azure as well as Oracle Intelligent Adviser. The work is being performed by a mix of permanent and contracted staff, plus a small selection of specialist vendors.
The ministry is also replacing its legacy payroll system, which was introduced in the early 1990s. Expected to go live in the third quarter of 2022, this was budgeted at $5.8 million but will now cost, or is estimated to cost, $7.4 million.
“The expected cost is higher than originally budgeted due to an increase in scope and slightly longer duration to ensure appropriate change readiness and an increase in post go live support,” Evans said.
The replacement payroll system is a module of the SAP Success Factors suite of people products used by the ministry. SAP is the primary vendor and is also providing implementation services supplemented with external contractors.
Another programme will implement Te Rito, a web-based national information repository which connects ākonga and learner information across kura, schools, ngā kohanga reo and early learning services. According to a Parliamentary disclosure, Te Rito was budgeted at $4.5 million but would now cost or was estimated to cost $18.5 million.
However, Evans told Reseller News the project was not over budget and the information filed to Parliament was being updated.
“We have been working closely with kura, schools and early learning services across Aotearoa to prepare them to connect to Te Rito,” he said. “Some have started getting ready, and some are now connected and using Te Rito.”
Te Rito is an online, cloud-based system supplied by Canada-based CoreFour and uses a platform from Massachusetts based education application specialist Edsby.
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