Cloud

Okta beefs up cloud security with more powerful authentication features

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Cloud security startup Okta has added integrated single sign-on and multifactor authentication to its cloud security offering, a move that will improve security and stability for organizations using cloud-based software.

“We’re the first company to offer this all-in-one package to give secure access to users in the cloud,” Okta CEO Todd McKinnon told VentureBeat.

Okta is of many companies in the emerging cloud software space, but it defines itself by solving the tricky problem of secure cloud access. It adds a layer of security on top of existing cloud applications, and it serves high-profile customers like Box.net, Pandora and AMAG Pharmaceuticals.

Companies that have a hard time trusting in the reliability and security of the cloud will appreciate what Okta is trying to do.

Using Okta’s multifactor authentication means that if a user loses a password or uses an terrible password like “password” or “qwerty”, another layer exists to stop intruders who don’t belong.

“With this solution, organizations don’t have to rely solely on a password to authenticate users,” McKinnon said. “[They] can ask an additional security question or use a soft token to make sure people are who they say they are.”

This development means Okta is one step ahead of much bigger competitors like Microsoft, VMware and Oracle. If you use one of those companies to secure your cloud and want multifactor authentication, you have to go to other companies to fill in that gap, rather than having the tools in a single dashboard.

“We’re making it easier for the IT guy because he won’t have to spend as much time managing cloud access,” McKinnon said.

San Francisco-based Okta was founded in 2009 and currently has more than 40 employees. The company’s most recent funding totaled $16.5 million and was led by Greylock Partners with participation from new investor Khosla Ventures and existing investors Andreessen-Horowitz and Floodgate. The company has raised $27.5 million in total.