Cloud and mobile have vastly expanded the surface area of computing. In doing so, they have expanded risk. The main worry isn't that malicious hackers will break into a cloud service or a mobile device, it's that the wrong person may access sensitive data -- such as a recently fired employee whose logon to the company's cloud-based CRM app (oops!) still works.
One effective way to reduce that elevated risk is through identity management -- or, if you believe Todd McKinnon, cloud-based identity management. McKinnon can boast serious cloud cred after serving as senior vice president of engineering at Salesforce.com from 2003 to 2009. Now he's CEO of Okta, a cloud startup launched in 2011 and backed by Andreessen Horowitz. Okta seeks to simplify identity management for customers by maintaining integrations with thousands of applications, as well as enabling more efficient management of the rights, permissions, and profiles of users.
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IDG Communications chief content officer John Gallant and I first sat down to interview McKinnon in September. As it turned out, Okta was on the cusp of a major update, so InfoWorld executive editor Doug Dineley and I circled back with McKinnon for another session. The following conversation is a combined, edited version of the two.
InfoWorld: Does Okta mean anything?
McKinnon: Okta is a meteorological scale that tells you how much cloud cover there is. I think right now we're at about a six okta, seven okta. Pilots use it to report on weather conditions.
InfoWorld: What prompted you to start Okta?