Apr 12, 2021

Okta: identity for the internet

Bizclik Editor
3 min
Okta: identity for the internet
Okta's vision is a world where everyone can safely use any technology: protect the identities of all users, while asking “what more can we make possib...


Before the Covid-19 crisis enterprise IT was focusing on transitioning to the cloud. Now, IT leaders cite secure employee access as their primary focus, thanks largely to an explosion in remote working. “One of the scariest parts of the quick switch to remote work is the need to move quickly and securely,” says Brock Dooling, Partner Alliances Engineer at Okta. “Data breaches are on the rise this year as bad actors take advantage of vulnerable IT environments in flux.” Okta is a trusted platform to secure every identity, from customers to workforce. More than 10,000 organizations trust Okta’s software and APIs to sign in, authorize, and manage users. As Dooling puts it: “Employees, customers, consumers need to trust your technology in order to trust your company and your brand. We believe that putting trust at the core of everything we do is the only way technology will reach its full potential.”

Getting identity right is really important – but complicated. Clients can use Okta to enable their users to sign in with a username/password or with their social accounts like Google or Facebook using pre-built sign-in components from Okta. “After the user has signed in, you can retrieve their user profile to customize the UI based on their role. You can use Okta to secure your APIs and application backends so that only authorized users and applications can call them. With Okta clients can use their existing stack to build sign in, protect their APIs and move on with their lives!”

That message is not lost on Okta's partners. Recently the CTO of lifecycle managed services provider Presidio Dave Trader told us: “Okta has been a huge help in managing secure user authentication, while allowing developers to build identity controls into applications, website web services and devices.” He frequently suggests Okta for its ability to support, at scale, major security platforms such as Cisco Duo. “At Okta, we believe that if you want to go far, you go together,” confirms Dooling. As a leading North American IT solutions provider focused on digital infrastructure, business analytics, cloud, security & emerging solutions, it makes sense to partner with Presidio. We want partners like Presidio that have a similar vision and have significant impact in the marketplace.”

Password access is notoriously vulnerable, so automation of user authentication is at the top of the developers' agenda. Okta FastPass is already delivering passwordless login using default authentication implemented through biometric capabilities, rather than only by user-specific certifications. “It enables passwordless authentication into anything you need to get your work done, on any device, with no dependency on Active Directory join or a specific enterprise mobility management (EMM)or mobile device management (MDM) provider. Clients will be able to log in from any device or location to any Okta-managed app.”

On March 4 2021 Okta acquired a complementary authorization platform. It will continue to support and expand Auth0, with a view to eventual integration. “Together, we will shape the future of identity on the internet,” promises Brock Dooling The choice, flexibility, and value we’ll offer customers will be amazing: Okta and Auth0 address a broad set of identity use cases, and our identity platforms are robust and extensible enough to serve the world’s largest organizations and most innovative developers.” 

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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