Mobile SSO Powered by IAM: Reducing Cost With Every Login

Our daily lives are spent reinforcing our need for instant access: apps to order coffee and skip the line, libraries of music to build playlists, entire seasons of shows to binge-watch during quarantine, and the list goes on. So naturally, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we carry over these same expectations into our work lives. Today’s enterprise workforce relies on a variety of apps to complete their tasks efficiently. Without single sign-on (SSO), end-users are bogged down with redundant login attempts across applications, and organizations are more vulnerable to security breaches. There are many players in this space, however, Okta has continued to pave the way as a leader in Identity and Access Management (IAM).  

What exactly is IAM? At a really high level, IAM is the process of defining and managing individual and group roles, their corresponding access privileges, and when to grant or deny those established privileges. Without IAM, IT teams would have to define, assign, and establish privileges on an app-by-app basis. Hello inefficiency

Less (time) = More (money)

The year: 2009.
The setting: San Francisco.
The vision: Change how employee identities were being managed to save time, which as we all know, translates directly into money.

At the time, Identity and Access Management wasn’t a new concept. Active Directory (AD) was first introduced ten years earlier as an on-premise service for managing employee identities. By the time OKTA came into existence, the AD/LDAP combination was prevalent because Microsoft had a decade long opportunity to establish a foothold on the Enterprise Identity Management software space. It also didn’t hurt that pretty much every Enterprise was using Microsoft software.

Along came OKTA. By its sixth year in existence, OKTA had raised 75MM in funding. Just two years later in 2017, OKTA’s IPO would make an additional 187MM available to further propel OKTA in its meteoric trajectory. What fueled such rapid growth? OKTA’s scalability and focus on integration with AD, bringing together cloud capabilities for companies using legacy technology.

Even if your organization is using Active Directory to manage employee identities, you can still get the most out of your investment by leveraging OKTA on top of your AD instance

Now you can help usher your organization into the modern world and be the hero they deserve (insert voice of Christian Bale as the Dark Knight)….

Out of the office and into the field

Nearly two years ago, my wife and I recognized that the baby seat from our registry was quickly becoming obsolete. After some online research, I made a “run” to a popular retailer store to see it in person. What I found was a price that was WAY higher than what was advertised online. The associate assured me  I’d be taken care of quickly. She grabbed an Android Rugged device and began tapping on the screen. Then she (and I) waited. More tapping. More waiting. After a solid minute of this, I HAD to ask: “Ma’am, are you having problems finding it on the website?” Her response blew me away. She said, “No. I’m just trying to log into the [retailer’s] app.”Now, that would likely frustrate most customers, but considering my line of work I knew the issue they were facing, and how that retailer could address it. Where most consumers would’ve seen a reason to spend their money elsewhere, I saw an opportunity to write about how other organizations could avoid losing sales and impacting their customer service scores. 

Reduced cost of ownership, increased productivity, and hardened security should always be top of mind for organizations across the board. Opportunities to drive value in those areas manifest themselves daily for frontline associates in retail stores and warehouses. Every day that an organization isn’t delivering on those values, money is being lost and security risks are going unchecked. SSO capabilities aren’t exclusive to desktops and laptops, SSO can be used on mobile devices to increase mobile workforce efficiency and security while reducing cost of ownership.

Store employee using rugged device to scan product for customer

IT and help desks are generally considered to be cost centers, so they’re already fighting an uphill battle to get funding year over year. You’d be hard-pressed to convince a finance team that IT and help desks will generate revenue. So instead, organizations could make the argument that there are easy ways to reduce costs. When they ask how, the answer should be simple: Identity Access Management and SSO. 

SSO enhances productivity for end-users, help desks teams, as well as IT admins, especially in the mobility space. Based on a recent internal study our team conducted, it takes an average of 20 seconds for a user to enter their credentials and log in to an app. Let’s take a look at how much time and money is spent on associates logging into single applications with the following assumptions: 

  • 10,000 associates (nationwide using shared devices)
  • $10.00 per hour
  • 8 logins per day per associate (once per hour per shift) x 20 seconds each
  • 260 working days
  • Total time spent on logins as a dollar value = $1,157,000.00

Now imagine them logging into an additional application and that number doubles. Then triples and so one for each application that associates need to use during their shifts. These staggering numbers illustrate the value and cost savings, especially for large enterprises. For reference, in 2013, BlueFletch helped convert a large retailer to shared Android rugged devices. That retailer understood the value of single sign-on and implemented it to reduce the costs associated with associates logging into each of the ~20 applications per device. By contrast, with SSO and the BlueFletch Enterprise Launcher, associates would only need to log into the Launcher at the start of their shift and be granted access to all of the applications on their devices. 

For end-users, SSO means they would only have one set of credentials to keep track of. How well would you be able to remember the password for 20 different applications? Let me guess: you’d use the same password for each and would change them all on the same day so the mandatory reset will happen uniformly. Yeah, security would love that. Hopefully you considered the fact that not every application will require a password reset on the time table. This definitely is not an ideal situation for end-users and would almost certainly make any security team uncomfortable, yet some companies are still not leveraging an IAM like OKTA or SSO. 

In a 2018 study by Gartner, it was determined that login problems account for up to 50% of help desk tickets. Can you imagine if 4 out of every 10 calls you were going to get on a single shift as a customer service employee would involve you having to help someone with their login credentials? Even worse, what if you (as the help desk agent) would have to use a different workflow to reset the password for each different application available to associates. Resetting an employee’s password is more complex than a one-click action, and it’s costly. According to Forrester Research, a single password reset can cost companies an average of $70. 

The more time the field associate spends on the call with the help desk, the less time they are available on a sales floor, processing shipments, or executing on tasking. Further downstream, when fewer calls come in about login credentials, the overall call volume decreases, which reduces the amount of staffing required. With fewer passwords to manage, users will spend less time addressing passwords and will have more time to focus on other tasks. 

SSO also improves security. A password for business-critical applications is primarily what stands in between criminals and a breach of data. Risk of breaches are especially heightened when end-users experience password fatigue, or when users choose easy-to-remember passwords and often repeat the same password across multiple applications — a strategy that has obvious and dangerous consequences that could land an organization on national news for a data breach.  

Remember that time when Kanye accidentally revealed his iPhone password (00000) during a live interview on TV? Don’t be Kanye. Hopefully Weird Al is reading this right now and will make a spoof of “Stronger” and dedicate it to passcodes.

Look back to focus on what's ahead

Implementing single sign-on is an easy way for your organization to reduce costs, gain productivity, and increase security. Follow these best practices and focus on what’s ahead to improve your company’s bottom line:

  1. Embrace Change
    • Move away from legacy technologies and manual processes and move towards cloud-based solutions for IAM
    • OKTA integrates with Active Directory on-premise which makes the transition seamless and easy for users to adopt

       

  2. Let The Experts Do The Heavy Lifting
    • OKTA has proven their platform, built ways to seamlessly transition legacy system clients to the cloud, and most importantly, they’ve scaled it. 
    • BlueFletch has clients using their products on multiple continents, has partnerships with the leading Android rugged device manufacturers in the industry, and integrates with OKTA for SSO on Android mobile devices right out-of-the-box.

       

  3. Single Sign-On In the Field Is More Valuable Than Ever
    • Millions of dollars are lost annually in associate productivity due to logins and login-related issues.
    • Associates that spend too much time logging in could be losing changes to deliver excellent customer experiences. 
    • Having a cloud-based, scalable IAM like OKTA with SSO helps to mitigate the chances of breach.
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