How to Know When Your Nonprofit Needs an Identity Solution

Photo by Ben Sweet on Unsplash

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If you’re not sure whether your organization has an identity and access management (IAM) problem, then you’re not alone. Most people don’t really understand IAM, let alone perceive it as an urgent issue.

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Much more often, people think about security problems, user experience problems, and organizational capacity problems. The truth, however, is that identity can help solve them all.

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drawing of a person standing in front of a large login screen

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I talk to nonprofit leaders all the time who are wondering whether they need an identity solution like Okta. Many are “accidental techies,” who would understandably prefer to spend less time thinking about IT and more time working on programs. Some of them jokingly ask if there’s a magic formula that can help them determine the right path forward.

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Well, it turns out, there is: People x (Applications + Managed Devices) > 200

In plain English: If you’re managing more than 200 identities, then you probably need an identity solution.

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Let’s briefly define those terms:

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  • People are individuals (including employees, volunteers, partners, beneficiaries, etc.) who need to securely access an application or device that you manage.

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  • Applications are the systems your people use, whether cloud-based or on-premises.

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  • Managed Devices are the laptops, tablets, phones, printers, servers, network routers, and other hardware that your organization is responsible for securing.

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Our experience with thousands of nonprofits around the world tells us that organizations begin experiencing significant security, user experience, and capacity problems when they reach approximately 200 identities.

Small Nonprofits Need Identity Solutions Too

Even small organizations are reaching this tipping point faster than ever. Data from Okta’s Businesses at Work 2021 report suggests that nonprofits are typically managing 40 to 70 applications (and growing each year). At that rate, a team of five people easily generates 200+ identities.

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That’s 200 accounts that can be compromised (security problem), 200 accounts to provision and deprovision over time (capacity problem), and 200 usernames and passwords to manage (user experience problem).

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Interestingly, it doesn’t matter whether your organization gets to 200+ identities by having a small staff and many applications, a large staff with few applications, or something in the middle. What matters is simply the number of identities you’re managing.

Solving Security, Capacity, and User Experience Problems

Here’s how Okta’s identity solutions can help you solve all of those problems.

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Security problem: I have no idea how many accounts we’ve created over the years in various applications or how secure they are.

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Solution: Okta Single Sign-On (SSO) gives administrators a single place to view, manage, and secure access to all of your applications. Centralize control while allowing your users to customize their dashboards, add new applications, and find their favorite apps quickly.

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Capacity problem: We’re spending too much time creating and deleting accounts for people.

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Solution: Giving people access quickly to the applications they need to do their job is critical for every organization (and quickly revoking their access when they leave can be even more important). Okta Workflows enables you to automate (without code!) many of the critical and repetitive tasks related to on – and offboarding people from applications.

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User experience problem: My staff has too many usernames and passwords to manage on their own.

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Solution: As the name suggests, SSO gives your team access to all of their applications in one place and supports self-serve password resets. Combining SSO with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) dramatically increases security while reducing friction for all of your people.

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Nonprofits validated by TechSoup are eligible for 50 free licenses for all of Okta’s Workforce Identity products, plus 50 percent off any additional licenses. Learn more about the benefits available for Okta for nonprofits.

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Written by Adam Rosenzweig

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Co-published here.

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