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Businesses today are obsessed with identity. In this new age of telecommuting and employee productivity tracking, it is essential to know who is logged into a network and from where.

You might think this is easy but it’s not. And that is why we have seen this vital service – provided by just a handful of powerful independent companies -- explode in value

Okta Inc. (OKTA), which provides multi-factor authentication to enterprises, partners and customers – has become the industry heavyweight. The little-known but fast growing San Francisco, Calif.-based company has become a digital passport provider to over 7,000 organizations.

As corporations accelerate the work-from-home trend, the value of that business will only increase.

The company announced Tuesday second quarter earnings will be released Aug. 27, after the market close. Shares are likely to advance heading into that date.

Like many newcomers in Silicon Valley, Okta was born in the cloud era. Todd McKinnon and Frederic Kerrest, two former Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM) engineers, recognized that managing employee and customer identity across disparate software platforms had become needlessly complicated. Lost passwords and application lockouts were dampening the productivity benefits of the cloud.

Okta software gives employees a single login. In the background, they are automagically logged into their Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Adobe or any other enterprise accounts. It’s seamless and there are no passwords to remember. When they leave the company, their access is automatically revoked.

Most data breaches are the result of weak or stolen login credentials. Okta identity management negates credentials. It also provides managers with a live dashboard showing who is logged in, and from what location. That peace of mind is more important than ever with so many employees working outside of the office.

Okta is finally getting more recognized as the clear leader in enterprise identity management. The company was recently named an Access Management leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Forrester Research made a similar declaration a year ago.

The best news is the lack of any real competition. While Microsoft does have a similar single login, its solution is not vendor neutral, nor does it integrate with as many software platforms. The Okta Identity Cloud works with thousands of enterprise apps.

The business is on a roll. Its stock has risen 89% this year, and 1,090% since the IPO in 2017. Sales have also surged, from $85.9 million in 2016 to $586 million through fiscal 2020.

Today, the corporate client list is a who’s who of up-and-coming enterprise software companies: Twilio Inc. ( (TWLO) - Get Twilio, Inc. Class A Report), Workday, Inc. (WDAY), Zoom Video Communications, Inc. ( (ZM) - Get Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Class A Report), Splunk Inc. ( (SPLK) - Get Splunk Inc. Report), Box Inc. ( (BOX) - Get Box, Inc. Class A Report), ServiceNow, Inc. ( (NOW) - Get ServiceNow, Inc. Report) and Zscaler ( (ZS) - Get Zscaler, Inc. Report) all depend on Okta for identity management.

And Okta is also signing bigger companies like Adobe, Inc. ( (ADBE) - Get Adobe Inc. Report), Salesforce.com, Jet Blue Corp. ( (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report), and Major League Baseball.

Okta execs have found a way to monetise enterprise identity. They also built a business that is largely immune from competitors because the architecture is vendor neutral.

The company still does not have earnings, but managers expect to turn profitable in 2022. Currently, shares are trading at 42.7x sales.

That’s expensive, but shows analysts’ and investors’ confidence in the company.

Investors should continue to buy the stock on dips into the earning release date. Okta has had a strong history of super-charged sales growth and increased telecommuting suggests there is every indication that trend will continue.