BetterCloud sees strong potential in highly complementary Okta integration

BetterCloud believes that its new integration with Okta, which adds significant automation to the Okta solution and eliminates blind spots, will significantly expand their business with larger customers, and with larger channel partners like global SIs.

SaaS operations management provider BetterCloud, whose platform offers multi-vendor management and security for SaaS applications, has partnered with identity provider Okta in what the companies say is a highly complementary integration that they expect to drive a large amount of business.

BetterCloud makes a multi-vendor solution that uses deep API connections to centralize administration across SaaS apps, uncover security blind spots, and automate manual security and IT processes.

“We solve a problem around managing and securing the most mission-critical SaaS applications,” said Shreyas Sadalgi, BetterCloud’s Chief Business Strategy Officer, who is in charge of BetterCloud’s technology and go-to-market strategic partnerships.

While BetterCloud has a channel, which it has recently begun to expand, their strategic partnerships are critical to their growth.

“We serve the SMB and midmarket, up to about 5000 users,” Sadalgi said. “We have begun to expand upmarket, and we already have 30 large companies as customers. These partnerships are our roadmap to expand that, to integrate into the enterprise applications.  SMB and midmarket integrations were our initial focus, but now enterprise vendors like Okta are our objective.”

Sadalgi said that Okta, which he knows well as a competitor from his earlier days with Centrify, also started out in the SMB and midmarket.

“They also started out in that space, where they pioneered the category of SaaS identity management,” he stated. “We think we are a lot like Okta, except that we are four or five years behind them. We cater to the same set of companies that have adopted multiple SaaS applications, and we have the same buyer and user personas.”

BetterCloud has around 2500 customers – including 200 joint customers with Okta.

“Last year, we attended Oktane 17, and discovered these 200 joint customers through mapping,” Sadalgi said. “We interviewed ten of them with our product managers there, and also had a roundtable discussion. We asked them about their pain points working with BetterCloud and Okta together, and what they wanted to solve.”

Sadalgi said they were told that the customers wanted more IT automation, because manual processes increase the risk of error. They wanted the admin types and terminology of the applications to be consistent. They said that the alerting systems lacked the user and data object context to triage and intermediate, and wanted both the monitoring and remediation to be fully automated, and combined.

Armed with that information, Bettercloud went back to the drawing board and spent nine months designing the new integration with Okta.

“The integration is like an iceberg,” Sadalgi said. “The top half, the identity and access management issues and their provisioning and deprovisioning, are solved by Okta. The bottom half is BetterCloud, providing continuous monitoring and policy enforcement around configurations, settings and user and administrator activity.”

BetterCloud now also becomes an Okta Integration Network partner in the categories of workflow orchestration and security analytics.

Sadalgi indicated that the integration addresses two use cases.

“The first, which is the biggest use case, is workflow orchestration to eliminate manual offboarding of users,” he said. Okta Universal Directory integration to BetterCloud now lets organizations to set up and execute critical security and management workflows across applications that can be triggered directly from identity lifecycle changes within Okta.

“After deprovisioning user accounts with Okta, admins still have a lot of manual things left to do, and not properly offboarding can give continued access to Dropbox and other apps after the employee has left the company. We tied into the Okta universal directory to provide completely automated offboarding for SaaS configuration and settings.”

The second use case is around security analytics.

“This is about finding blind spots – threats from actions that are nobody’s fault because SaaS apps are prone to simple misconfiguration errors,” Sadalgi said. “We are able to protect against blind spots in security events with continuous security monitoring and automated policy remediation.”

Sadalgi emphasized that this is a go-to-market integration as well as a technology one.

“At Oktane 18, every Okta customer who stopped by said it was what they needed,” he said. “We met and engaged with Okta’s sales teams, resellers and services teams. Okta sees this as complementary. They solve the first half and we solve the second half.”

Sadalgi said that the week following the end of Oktane 18 on May 23 was amazing.

“Okta is hooking us into their regional sales teams and customers,” he said. “We have an agreement with them where if Okta walks us into a customer and we close the deal, the Okta sales rep gets a commission from the first year as an incent – and the same applies if we walk them into an opportunity. We had several of those deals happen this week.”

Okta has also been introducing BetterCloud to key channel partners.

“They are getting us together with their partners who are hungry for complementary solutions like ours,” he said. “This is a big opportunity for us to engage with Tier One global SIs, who are Okta partners, whom we have not worked with before. We have had some great conversations there.”