Okta opens local cloud, bulks channel team, plans MSP product

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Okta opens local cloud, bulks channel team, plans MSP product

Authentication-as-a-service vendor Okta has flicked the switch on an Australian cloud, bulked up its local channel team to handle a hoped-for increase in local interest and is preparing to target MSPs late in 2019.

The cloud first: Okta uses AWS worldwide and has spent the last six months readying an instance of its offering for local users.

Asia-Pacific general manager Graham Sowden told CRN that while local customers and partners haven’t complained that Okta’s services have latency or data sovereignty issues, the local cloud will benefit the company because it is “kind of a big signal” that the company is here to stay and serious about its intentions.

It also signals Okta’s intention to seek federal government customers. The company currently works with top-tier financial clients and State governments, but hasn’t approached the feds yet.

Sowden said the local presence means it can do so with confidence, but that he’s also keen to find partners that can help Okta to crack Canberra.

Some of Okta’s current partners can help: Sowden listed Deloitte, Dimension Data, Datacom and The Missing Link and Solista as current tier one partners.

Snowden hopes to find others, too. Which is one reason the company recently appointed Katherine Rojas as Regional Alliances Manager, adding muscle to the channel team led by APAC Director of Regional Alliances Matthew Paull.

The company is also in the process of introducing its partner program – known as “Partner Connect” – to Australia, following its September 2018 launch.

There’s more channel action coming in late 2019, as Snowden told CRN that Okta is working on a version of its product designed for deployment by managed service providers.

“That's a load of work that's going on internally in the product divisions to build that out right now,” Sowden said, and named “the tail end of the year” as the likely launch for the new product.

When that product lands, Sowden predicted big change at Okta as it learns to work with MSPs and the scale they offer.

But for now it’s Canberra or bust.

“We will be embracing the federal government marketplace and channel partners with expertise in that market place - I'd love to start talking to you now.”

But not to distributors: Sowden reckons Okta can get by without one for now.

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