Read the Okta Business at Work (at Home) 2020 report, released May 2020 and covering Jan-Mar 2020. [July 2020 edit: … so the very early part of the pandemic. Hopefully Okta releases another since things are moving so fast in this space.]

Okta puts out a report called Business at Work, that anonymizes their integration usage and allows them to highlight what SaaS providers are taking off. I find it a super helpful presentation to watch for what companies are gaining traction. It comes out every year, and last one came out in January.

Top winners for 2019 were:

  • Snowflake (still waiting for it to IPO)
  • OpsGenie (TEAM)
  • Splunk (SPLK)
  • ... and down in 10th place, Zoom (ZM) ... who had now been in their top 10 fastest growers list for 4 years in a row.

Well, Okta has clearly been getting introspective during this pandemic (as seen in their Oktane20 events), and decided to release a mid-year special edition since EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.

They measured one month of growth of SaaS providers - March 2020. Zoom is number 1. An astounding 110% gain in unique users in March 2020. Meaning that on Mar 31, they had 110% more unique users that 30 days period than were in during the prior 30 day period.

Imagine the scale and infrastructure needed for that number of users at the end of February... then double it over the next 30 days. Then imagine what April and May brought -- and all the months beyond that. Go back at that last 2019 yearly report in Jan, and see Zoom did 76% YoY growth in unique users for 10th place. They grew more in the month of March then they did in all of 2019.

WebEx makes a respectable showing here in 7th place. But it pales in comparison to the new leader in video conferencing, that has TRIPLE their growth (110% to 37%).

Other takeaways:

  • Palo Alto and Cisco have had huge growth at #2 and #3 in the list. No doubt due to the suddenly scattered workforce whose traffic needed securing. Zscaler is a distant 15th place (with a still respective 14% growth in unique users in a month). This tells me Zscaler isn't able to stave off the big players, so they've been able to catch up. This pandemic is clearly a good thing for Zscaler and it's good it showed up here, but competitors are gaining more users by magnitudes. This reduces the luster on Zscaler, IMHO. It's had a serious gain from its lows, and I'm not exactly sure why.
  • Surprising lack of the top 2 in annual report, Snowflake and OpsGenie (TEAM); both had a huge 2019s but aren't showing up at all here. These popular data warehouse and incident mgmt tool might be wavering a bit in this environment due to reduced business spend.
  • DocuSign, Slack and Smartsheet all show up, in a show that they are clearly benefiting from this environment, and usage is exploding - gaining potentially a year's worth of customer growth in a month.
  • Further down the report is the section "Security: now more than ever". Attackers are proliferating in this confusing environment between pandemic and work-from-home. Security is an utmost concern for EVERY enterprise right now. (Of course, we already knew this would be the case -- if you've been paying attention since my Flavors of Security series last fall.) So don't fear for our cybersecurity-focused companies, as THEY ARE MORE INDESPENSIBLE THAN EVER. CrowdStrike, Okta, Cloudflare, and Zscaler (even though I was just harping on them) will continue to execute quite well in this environment.
  • They report a 667% increase in phishing attacks in March over Feb. Cybersecurity EDUCATION is also really important. Proofpoint is doing quite well, but especially their employee training division. First line of defense is making your employees aware of the dangers, and how to increase awareness enough to learn to identify attacks.
  • A GREAT trend for Okta is shown on the "Percentage Change in Unique Users Authenticating with Each Factor" closing chart. Okta Verify, their MFA service, is on F-I-R-E, growing 80% in a month while other MFA factors grew less than half that. Okta's customers and users are clearly preferring Okta's inline solution over the other forms. The sticky company is growing even more sticky.


For those wondering, I don't think CRWD is a company that would ever show up on this report. It's is Endpoint protection, which is an agent installed on devices & systems. It isn't going to have huge numbers from Okta as its SaaS service is only logged into by cybersecurity staff & managers - not those with the devices.

Same as for Datadog - only IT and developers are logging into that system. It isn't ever going to show up this report compared to platforms with millions of users like Zoom or Slack.