Nico Grant (Bloomberg) -- Okta Inc., a maker of identity management software, unveiled three cybersecurity partnerships meant to help safeguard corporate networks while millions of employees have been forced to work remotely.
Okta announced the agreements Wednesday with VMware Inc.’s Carbon Black unit, CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. and Tanium Inc., companies that help protect networks and applications from unsafe software and devices. The software maker detailed the pacts ahead of its annual conference, which is now a virtual event because of stay-at-home orders in California resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
The San Francisco-based company makes software that helps users access various applications with one set of credentials. The partnerships were in the works before the pandemic, but have taken on new urgency as organizations rush to make sure hackers don’t infiltrate their systems while so many employees work form home.
Okta has become a favorite of investors the past few years as it sought to integrate with other software makers and burnish its image as an open and neutral vendor. The company’s shares have jumped almost sevenfold since its April 2017 initial public offering, and have gained 6% this year despite the market’s plunge.
“With Covid-19, where everyone is trying to work from home, the ability to do work in a secure environment and integrating that together is more important than it’s ever been,” Chief Executive Officer Todd McKinnon said in an interview. “Carbon Black is scanning the device for malware and viruses. This information pumps that right into Okta. If your device has anything bad on it from a security standpoint, you can’t get in anywhere.”
Okta and VMware had already been working together, but their accord has expanded to include Carbon Black, a cybersecurity vendor VMware acquired in October. VMware will be Okta’s premier partner in its effort to boost endpoint security, executives from both companies said, reflecting the virtualization software company’s large size and long list of customers.
The joint effort, which is expected to be available to customers in the fourth quarter of this year, will reduce the need for employees to access corporate networks with cumbersome numbers or token systems, Sanjay Poonen, VMware’s chief operating officer of customer operations, said in an interview.
Products from Crowdstrike and Tanium will integrate with Okta’s software in a similar way, the company said.
McKinnon said that some clients are accelerating efforts to boost log-in security, but others had delayed efforts to adopt Okta’s software in the midst of Covid-19. The company will update investors on its business outlook on the sidelines of the annual conference.