Okta unveils tool to connect on-prem apps to cloud ID management

The new Okta Access Gateway was built for the growing number of enterprises relying on hybrid cloud environments.

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Okta on Tuesday announced a new product that brings its cloud-based identity management tools to on-premise environments. With Okta Access Gateway, enterprise customers can use the Okta Identity Cloud -- which includes single sign-on and adaptive multi-factor authentication tools -- to access on-prem applications. With multiple customers already using the technology behind Access Gateway, Okta expects it to be generally available later this year. 

Traditionally, enterprises have used products like CA SiteMinder or Oracle Identity Manager to manage access to on-premise applications. However, "these are 20 year-old products built entirely for an on-premises world," Okta COO and co-founder Frederic Kerrest said to ZDNet.

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As Okta's new Digital Enterprise Report illustrates, organizations are increasingly embracing hybrid IT strategies. According to the report, which surveyed 1,050 technology decision makers at organizations with at least $1 billion in revenue, two-thirds of respondents expect to deploy more cloud applications in the coming year. At the same time, a majority of large companies have at least one-third of their applications running on-premises.

Okta Access Gateway is a piece of software that customers can deploy to their own data centers or through an IaaS vendor like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. It takes just about 30 minutes to deploy, Kerrest said, unlike traditional on-prem solutions. Through header translation, it connects on-premise applications to the Okta Identity Cloud.

The product works with on-premise applications from vendors like Oracle, IBM and SAP as well as custom-built applications.

"We are sensitive to the fact that traditional enterprise software was complicated because you had to deploy inside everyone's environment and everyone's data centers look different," Kerrest said. "That's why a lot of cloud vendors shy away from doing the work we just did with Okta Access Gateway, but we think it's important to give [customers] a modular piece of technology they can put in their data centers or run in a public cloud provider to take advantage of [Okta Identity Cloud] and not leave all of their on-premises applications behind."

Okta highlighted how Hitachi has used Access Gateway to put the Okta Identity Cloud on top of its legacy authentication infrastructure. "Okta Access Gateway was the right technology for us to transform our legacy authentication infrastructure without disrupting the legacy systems," Ashish Sanghrajka, CIO of Hitachi (Americas and EMEA) , said in a statement.

Okta announced the new product at its Oktane19 conference, where the firm unveiled other new products and enhancements. For instance, its new Advanced Server Access brings contextual access management to secure cloud infrastructure. The new product comes out of Okta's acquisition of ScaleFT last summer and marks Okta's first big investment in the infrastructure level. It promises to help enterprises continuously manage and secure access to on-premises Windows and Linux servers and across leading IaaS vendors via the Okta Identity Cloud.