Cloud

10 takeaways from Okta's Businesses @ Work 2017 report

As a cloud identity provider, Okta's customers tend to be forward-thinking companies, so the data in this report could point toward possible long-term trends.

Photo of Chromebook with Okta's Businesses @ Work 2017 report in browser
Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Okta's Businesses @ Work 2017 report , released January 2017, provides a look at app adoption trends among the company's customers. It's the company's third such report, and Okta presents it both as an easy-to-read webpage and a PDF.

The data shouldn't be interpreted as representative of the current state of enterprise technology use. Since Okta delivers cloud identity solutions, their customers inherently include organizations that have adopted cloud apps, and the data will necessarily omit companies that don't manage cloud logins with Okta. That makes the information even more interesting to me, since the report offers insight into the behavior of people at organizations that tend to be "early adopters."

That said, here are ten key data points from Okta's Business @ Work 2017 report.

1. Office 365 leads the cloud collaboration competition

Of Okta's customers, 39% use Office 365, while 14% use G Suite exclusively. That's an especially interesting statistic, considering that in August 2016, Okta and Google paired up to encourage cloud adoption, with Google naming Okta a preferred identity partner.

2. About 1 in 8 organizations use both Office 365 and G Suite

Usage of these two suites clearly can be complementary. I've seen split usage, where different groups within an organization access different apps (e.g., a university with faculty on Office 365 and students on G Suite), and dual usage, where both suites are available and people choose the app they prefer for a task.

3. Organizations that use G Suite use more apps

G Suite customers used 29 apps, while Office 365 customers used 22 apps.

4. More than half (56%) of the apps used weren't provided by IT

Some companies, it seems, are more open to allowing a mix of personal and professional app use. And that makes sense, as mobile device management systems increasingly allow protection (and deletion) of company data separate from personal data.

5. Among personally used apps, social apps rule

Three of the most-used personal apps were the social apps you might expect: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. (The other two in the top five were Amazon and Paypal.) In many cases, it may be difficult to differentiate apps for personal and professional use: News, networking, and messaging may easily be either.

6. Zoom is increasingly popular for video-conferencing

Zoom grew at a greater than 60% rate for the six months ending November 1 among Okta's customers. Given that both Google and Microsoft offer conferencing solutions—Hangouts and Skype—it seems there's still a market for competitive solutions.

7. Slack adoption continues

Slack's growth slowed a bit, dropping it to the third fastest growing app behind Zoom and Cisco Umbrella. But still, 35% of G Suite customers use Slack, and 14% of Office 365 customers use Slack.

8. SMS and Security Question authentication are used roughly equally

In the 2015 report, Okta showed that about 40% of customers relied on security questions, compared to 20% using SMS for multi-factor authentication. Numbers from 2017 show that the use of security questions declined, while SMS increased, leaving the two methods roughly even at around 30%.

9. Multi-factor authentication via an app continues to lag

Multi-factor authentication via an app, such as Duo, Okta Verify, or Google Authenticator, still lags behind SMS and security questions. In part, this reflects the many apps that can be used for authentication. Given today's concerns for security, I would expect these adoption numbers to continue to increase.

10. 30% of SMBs haven't deployed Active Directory

The Okta report says, "95% of the Fortune 1000 use Active Directory today." But it also indicates that "Over 30% of our SMB customers are not using AD or LDAP as a directory. As these companies mature, they may never deploy AD."

That may be the most interesting early indicator in the report, as it shows that companies can be built cloud-first, without the need for legacy directory setups. To me, this signals that the enterprise-scale shift toward a different type of infrastructure is just beginning.

What do you think?

What do you think are the early indicators in the report? What shift in apps, or ecosystem, signals to you a shift in adoption patterns? Share your thought in the comments or on Twitter.

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About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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