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*Okta, Inc. (OKTA): Okta Aims to Lockdown Cybersecurity

The world of big business is obsessed with identity. And in this age of telecommuting, knowing exactly who is logged into the network and from what location is essential for businesses to track productivity and manage employees. That kind of vital demand is already being provided by some great businesses.

One of them is Okta Inc. (Rated “D+”). The company provides multi-factor authentication to enterprises, partners, and customers. The San Francisco-based company has become a digital passport provider to over 7,000 organizations.

And the work from home trend’s acceleration that only increases the value of the business.

Like many newcomers in Silicon Valley, Okta was born in the cloud era. Todd McKinnon and Frederic Kerrest, two former Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM, Rated “C-”) engineers, recognized that managing employee and customer identity across disparate software platforms had become needlessly complicated. Lost passwords and application lockouts were dampening the productivity benefits of the cloud.

Okta software gives employees a single login. In the background, they are magically logged into their Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Adobe, or any other enterprise accounts. It’s seamless and there are no passwords to remember. When they leave the company, their access is automatically revoked.

This kind of security is vital.

Most data breaches are the result of weak or stolen login credentials. Okta identity management negates credentials. It also provides managers with a live dashboard showing who is logged in, and from what location. That peace of mind is more important than ever with so many employees working outside of the office.

Okta is the clear leader in enterprise identity management. And it’s recently been recognized as such.

Last year, the company was named an Access Management leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Forrester Research made a similar declaration in June 2019.

The best news is the lack of any real competition. While Microsoft does have a similar single login, its solution is not vendor neutral, nor does it integrate with as many software platforms. The Okta Identity Cloud works with thousands of enterprise apps.

The business is on a roll. Its stock has risen 66% this year, and 1,032% since the IPO in 2017. Sales have also surged, from $85.9 million in 2016 to $586 million through fiscal 2020.

Today, the corporate client list is a who’s who of up-and-coming enterprise software companies: Twilio Inc. (TWLO, Rated “D”), Workday, Inc. (WDAY, Rated “D”), Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM, Rated “C-”), Splunk Inc. (SPLK, Rated “D+”), Box Inc. (BOX, Rated “D”), ServiceNow, Inc. (NOW, Rated “C+”) and Zscaler (ZS, Rated “D”) all depend on Okta for identity management.

And Okta is also signing bigger companies like Adobe, Inc. (ADBE, Rated “B”), Salesforce.com, Jet Blue Corp. (JBL, Rated “D+”), and Major League Baseball.

Managers have found a way to monetize enterprise identity. They also built a business that is largely immune from competitors because the architecture is vendor neutral.

The company still does not have earnings, but managers expect to turn profitable in 2022. Currently, shares are trading at 39.9 times sales.

Jon Markman, Pivotal Point, issues@e.moneyandmarkets.com, 1-800-291-8545, May 31, 2020

 

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