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July 18, 2018updated 19 Jul 2018 7:54am

Okta Snaps Up ScaleFT, Takes Aim at $50 Billion VPN Market

Strategic acquisition gives Okta zero trust credentials

By CBR Staff Writer

San Francisco-based Okta, the cloud identity services provider, has snapped up fellow Bay Area startup ScaleFT, which specialises in Zero Trust architecture for the cloud.

The deal boosts Okta’s security offering and allows it to take aim at a virtual private network (VPN) market estimated to be worth $106 (£81) billion by 2022.

Okta has been buoyant over the past year, with its share price more than doubling since its 2017 IPO.

The acquisition is a strategic one for the company — which numbers customers like Adobe and provides the identity component to credit agency Experian — allowing it to bolster its identity verification offering with zero trust credentials.

The terms of the deal, announced today, were not disclosed.

okta zero trustOkta Gets Zero Trust Boost

Zero Trust refers to the increasingly widespread recognition that organisations must not automatically trust anyone inside or outside their perimeters.

(ScaleFT takes Google’s BeyondCorp, developed in the wake of the 2009 Aurora nation-state attacks on its global networks, as an inspiration and aims to allow employees to work securely from any location without the need for a VPN).

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ScaleFT’s toolkit for managing access to company web apps and servers assumes that no traffic within an enterprise’s network is any more trustworthy by default than traffic entering from outside the firewall.

Its model, unlike a traditional security one, allows companies to have all internal applications deployed to the public internet, but only accessible through a managed user and device-centric authentication and authorisation model.

Attacking the VPN Market

Okta said it will roll ScaleFT’s products into its “Okta Identity Cloud”, boosting its ability to validate users, devices, application and network information.

okta“Okta and ScaleFT will deliver next-generation continuous authentication capabilities to secure server access from cloud to ground — whether it’s for Amazon Web Services, Secure Shell (SSH) or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)”, the company said.

ScaleFT, which closed a $2 million funding round last year and includes Apache, Rackspace and Yahoo! veterans among its team, has set its sights firmly on disrupting a $50 billion global VPN market by pushing Zero Trust architecture.

You Can’t Trust your Network

“Companies have realized they can no longer trust their network and have to understand device security — instead of trusting everyone behind a firewall, now IT and security leaders must trust no one, inside or outside the organization,” said Okta’s COO Frederic Kerrest.

He added: “To help our customers increase security while also meeting the demands of the modern workforce, we’re acquiring ScaleFT to further our contextual access management vision — and ensure the right people get access to the right resources for the shortest amount of time.”

ScaleFT CEO and founder Jason Luce, a former Rackspace VP,  said in a blog: “Bringing our team and technology to Okta for the next phase of this mission is the right move. It’s a perfect fit for the core products we offer today, extending Okta’s SSO and MFA capabilities for secure server access over SSH and RDP. We’re going to help companies with their own Zero Trust missions, getting from base camp to the summit over time.”

See also: The Bug Bounty Bonanza


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