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Okta CEO on the future of remote work

Todd McKinnon, Okta CEO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Okta's 2021 business at work report and his thoughts on the future of remote work.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: With more than 9,400 customers, there's a very good chance that you know Okta. And if you don't, you will. And as we've learned from being folk who work from home, Okta can make it a lot easier to do. Let's bring into the stream Todd McKinnon, he is Okta's CEO.

And we appreciate your being here. And you're also out with this year's look at how organizations and people are actually working-- Your Annual Business at Work report. And because we're working at home, you saw a lot of new entries into your top 10 apps. Tell us about this.

TODD MCKINNON: Yeah, we're excited about our 7th annual Businesses at Work report. And just to familiarize folks with what it is-- so Okta is an identity company that sits at an important intersection between millions, and millions, and millions of employees that companies and millions and millions of consumers connecting to our customers' websites and mobile apps. So we take all of that aggregate information and release it in this report, which gives our customers and the market investors pretty valuable insight into what's happening in the cloud and technology in general.

So as you mentioned, this year the most interesting thing in the report is that nine of the fastest-growing apps and technologies in the report are new. And I think that's because of the pandemic and because of remote work. And the number one fastest-growing application, which is timely for the news of the day, is Amazon Business. Amazon Business is an application that lets employees connect to a company Amazon store so they can buy work-from-home equipment. And that application saw about over 300% increase in usage in the last year, largely powered by the work-from-home revolution that's going on.

SEANA SMITH: Todd, when we take a look at this work-from-home revolution, from the data that you're looking at, from the companies that you work with, how much of the shift to working from home do you think is going to be permanent?

TODD MCKINNON: Well, it definitely has had a big impact. And I think you're seeing that companies are seeing really positive results from it in terms of getting work done. So I think a lot of the impact of this work-from-home is going to be permanent. And I predict that next year, you'll see a lot of these new solutions that are new to the report this year-- things like Sigma or Miro, which is an online whiteboarding, Monday.com, which is a collaboration application-- you'll see these things graduate from our fastest-growing list to some of the top applications in our network.

Because I think a lot of the habits and a lot of the productivity benefits people are seeing from this work-from-home during the pandemic will be long lived. And you'll see those applications and those trends continue throughout the coming reports in the future years.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Do you get a sense of apps that we may not be familiar with, but that might pose competition to, say, a Slack, or even, you know, a Microsoft 365? I realize that's a high hurdle to cross. But are you watching anybody we should know about?

TODD MCKINNON: I'd call out a couple of things. First of all, it's interesting if you look at the data, there's a theory that if a company chooses Office 365, that it uses the whole Microsoft suite, which we couldn't see anything further from the truth in the data. In fact, 10% of customers that use Office 365 also use six or more of the competing products in that suire, including 40%-plus use Zoom, 30%-plus use Slack, over 20% use Box.

So there's a lot of heterogeneity inside the use of Office 365 as a suite. And then also if you just look at companies that use Office 365 plus Google Workspace, which is the direct competitor to Office 365, over 30% of companies that use Office 365 also use Google. So you're seeing companies really pick and choose the best of breed technology in all these different sectors, and doing what you would expect these companies to do-- pick the right solution that solves the business problem for them in the most effective way.

SEANA SMITH: Todd, another focus of these businesses over the last several months-- it's been a focus for quite some time-- I should say renewed focus has been on security, especially with all these employees working from home. I'm curious just what you found on that front, and what developments have been made in order to ensure that we don't see more cyber-attacks.

TODD MCKINNON: Security is on everyone's mind. It's a huge issue. And I think that for a long time, there was maybe a reticence to move to the cloud because people thought it wasn't as secure, you couldn't control it as much. And I think what people are seeing, especially after something like the solar winds attack and the solar winds issue, which really was an on-premise attack-- attack of legacy technology in people's own data centers-- you're seeing a renewed birth in the cloud.

But of course, with acceleration in the cloud, the attackers go to where people are going. So we see threats there as well. And one of the interesting things from the report is that if you look at our threat data of companies that are being attacked, there are certain industries that get attacked more than others. In fact, we saw that higher education had the highest ratio of threats against them versus the number of logins for all their users-- in fact, about twice the rate of banking or finance.

So yeah, the security threats are real. You're seeing a shift to the cloud, like a lot of other things. And customers need to be vigilant, which is why the reason they're using a lot of security technologies. We saw in the fastest-growing and the highest-used applications a lot of security technology-- everything from securities that help people be trained about security issues-- there's a platform called Know Before that's up about 40% in this report that's a security awareness training-- things like VMware, Carbon Black, which is endpoint protection tools.

There's Fortinet has a next generation gateway or firewall product. So all of these security technologies are moving to the cloud as well so customers can meet that demand and meet that threat.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Todd, I'm going to steal a line from you about what Okta does-- it allows any company to use any technology at any time it wants to. We appreciate your being here-- Todd McKinnon, Okta CEO and founder. All the best to you.