Which Technologies Are Driving Hybrid Working?

Okta’s 2022 ‘Businesses at Work’ report: Collaboration apps, security and best-of-breed technologies are on the rise in new hybrid working environment.

The Apps Supporting Hybrid Working

Despite a gradual return to the office, be it on a hybrid or full-time basis, apps and tools that support remote work have continued to experience fast growth, according to Okta’s eighth annual Businesses at Work report. The report, which analysed data from more than 14,000 customers, which includes over 7,000 integrations with cloud, mobile, and web apps, as well as IT infrastructure providers, reveals that organisations have continued to utilise collaboration apps, whilst the average number of apps deployed has increased by 24% since 2016.

Identity-Driven Security to Secure Hybrid Work

Companies are continuing to grapple with the vulnerabilities of the hybrid workspace and have implemented modern solutions to secure the future of work.

  • Legacy versus modern authentication: the rise of multi-factor and passwordless

When organisations leverage modern authentication solutions such as multi-factor authentication, the ratio of threats drops by 90–99%. Among all customers authenticating with a factor, a piece of information and process used to authenticate a person’s identity for security purposes, WebAuthn has risen from 2% in 2019, to 12% in 2020, to 16% in 2021.

Security questions and SMS factors, notoriously two of the weakest factor options, are both showing a significant decline in usage. At the same time, all signs are pointing towards a passwordless future. Security key and biometric factors have grown in popularity from 9% in 2018 to 21% today. Among the tech sector, use of security key/biometric factors reaches 30%.

  • Moving towards a Zero Trust approach

Globally, businesses are preparing for a Zero Trust future by investing in more cybersecurity apps. Organisations are rapidly progressing towards contextual-based access by assessing the security behaviours of users and by factoring in other risk signals at authentication. The report shows a 91% increase in risk-based policies, a 31% increase in customers deploying WebAuthn, and a 9% increase in device trust configuration.

  • Encryption hits the road: remote access solutions keep dynamic work rolling

With the continuing need to support a distributed workforce, remote access solutions tools continue to gain customers. Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect, which provides enterprise security protection to mobile users, is still the clear category leader, boasting growth of 42% since 2020 and 434% since 2018. AWS Client VPN has seen 190% year-over-year growth.

Investing in Best-of-breed Technology & Using More Apps Than Ever

Gone are the days of one-vendor shops. Even with constrained budgets, organisations are finding ways to add best-of-breed apps on top of their productivity suites. Among Okta’s Microsoft 365 customers, many collaboration apps show an increase in use compared to 2021’s report:

– 45% deploy Zoom, up from 42%

– 33% use Slack, an increase from 32%

– 38% use Google Workspace, up from 36%

A growing number of companies choose best-of-breed for advanced functionality as well. 45% of Okta’s Microsoft 365 customers deploy Salesforce, 43% choose AWS, 16% opt for Smartsheet, and another 16% use Tableau.

The average number of apps deployed by organisations increased to 89 in 2021. Larger companies (2,000 employees or more) deploy 187 apps on average. The number of users accessing integrated workplace management tools such as OfficeSpace and Envoy dropped almost 70% during the spring of 2020, but now is approaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

33% of Okta’s Microsoft 365 customers have four or more best-of-breed apps, up from 20% in 2017. In EMEA, DocuSign (70%) and GitHub (128%) are the fastest-growing apps. The growth of DocuSign mirrors the sheer volume of new e-transactions, as well as organisations’ need for reliable compliance and privacy.

Employee engagement and performance tools are on the rise, with BambooHR leading in EMEA

In EMEA, Google Workspace, Zoom, and Slack have won a large number of new customers, particularly among small businesses. Slack and Zoom have grown by 49% and 45% respectively. Collaboration apps and security tools lead the pack as the two most popular categories of tools deployed. The report also shows strong growth from other categories that support remote work, including design software (39% year-over-year growth), electronic signature tools (38%), and cloud platforms (34%).

BambooHR, dubbed as the “HR software for SMBs”, has seen 40% growth globally since 2020, and 70% year-over-year growth in EMEA. BambooHR, which is the leading tool in EMEA, also boasts more than twice as many customers as the second most popular HR tool, bob. This growth showcases the increasing importance employers are taking to create people-first experiences.