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Setting the Standard for Biometric Security in Canada with Okta

In a compelling interview with CanadianSME Small Business Magazine, Dan, the Senior Vice President & Canadian Country Manager at Okta, shares his journey of leading Okta’s growth and expansion in Canada. With over two decades of experience in bringing new technologies to market, Dan’s passion for innovation and his empathetic leadership style have been instrumental in Okta’s success. The interview delves into Okta’s 10th annual Businesses at Work Report, highlighting the digital landscape’s seismic shifts and the insights gleaned from app choices over the years. Dan discusses the key findings of the report, notably the disparity in passwordless authentication adoption and Canada’s leading role in biometric authentications globally. Despite some areas where Canadian companies lag, such as the average number of deployed apps per company, there’s optimism for the future, especially with the rise of design software and the shift to hybrid work. Looking ahead, Dan emphasizes Okta Canada’s commitment to enhancing identity protection, focusing on advancing passwordless authentication and increasing biometric utilization among Canadian organizations. This interview not only showcases Okta’s strategic vision but also Dan’s dedication to building up Canada’s technology landscape and making a significant impact.

As the SVP & Canadian Country Manager at Okta, Dan’s priority is to lead the growth in the country while expanding Okta’s reach in both the commercial and enterprise markets. Dan has a passion for investing in and building up Canada. Throughout his career he has worked with large companies to lead successful expansion in the Canadian market. With over two decades of experience, he has had the opportunity to realize his passion for bringing new technologies to market and for making a difference.

As a technologist, Dan’s a firm believer in the power of innovation. He understands its criticality in keeping Okta a step ahead, and as one of the best ways to delight customers.Dan delivers results by focusing on a positive change management approach. He strives to lead his teams with empathy. He understands that people come first, and the success of an organization is dependent on the wellbeing of its workforce.

Tell us about Okta’s 10th Businesses at Work Report and the motivation behind this annual report?

For the first few years of this decade, the digital landscape has seen seismic shifts, from the proliferation of remote work to the rise of artificial intelligence. Businesses have had to pivot rapidly to stay afloat. Our app choices can serve as powerful indicators of our current priorities, whether in business or in broader cultural contexts. That’s why Okta has published an  annual Businesses at Work Report for the past ten years – recognizing the valuable insights these choices provide over time.

Now, in 2024, it feels like the dust is finally settling after the whirlwind of changes from the past few years. With that comes the opportunity for companies to refocus their efforts, whether that’s on enhancing security measures or streamlining operations. As the tech world continues to evolve, the need for timely insights into shifting trends and strategies becomes increasingly paramount. This is where our annual Businesses at Work Report comes in – offering a window into the digital strategies employed by successful companies.

What are the key findings of the report? How do Canadian companies currently position themselves amidst the latest business trends, and how does this compare with our global counterparts?

When looking at our report findings, one aspect that stood out was the disparity between Canadian companies and their global counterparts in the adoption of passwordless authentication. The data shows that companies here in Canada are lagging behind with the fewest authentications per account on average, leaving their apps and data at higher risk. As security threats continue to evolve, it’ll be key for organizations to embrace new and more secure solutions to help safeguard their businesses.

However, despite this lag, Canada leads the world in the adoption of biometric authentications, with a 26% utilization rate. That means that our country is not just keeping pace when it comes to biometric authentications, we’re setting the standard.

Our report also revealed a few interesting insights into Canada’s workplace app usage landscape. While overall app usage saw a 6% increase mirroring the 5% growth in the U.S, Canada still trails behind when comparing the average number of deployed apps per company. Notably, the U.S. deployed 105 apps compared to Canada’s 66.

Setting the Standard for Biometric Security in Canada with Okta
Image Courtesy: Canva

What software trends do you foresee shaping the Canadian landscape in 2024?

It’s likely that the ongoing shift to hybrid work and its effects on apps and data, alongside the rise of generative AI, will continue to influence  how businesses handle the digital landscape. This year, we saw that design software was not only trending around the world, but it emerged as the fastest-growing category in Canada, experiencing a noteworthy 23% year-over-year growth. This popularity was across the board, impacting Fortune 500 companies to government to nonprofit organizations. In 2024, we predict  more brands will continue to place greater importance on the value of design, tapping into more accessible apps like Canva and Miro to help streamline their processes.

Given the insights from the report, what’s next for Okta Canada as it continues to enhance identity protection?

In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Looking ahead for Okta Canada, our focus remains on staying ahead of the curve in identity protection. With hackers getting smarter and using more sophisticated tactics, our goal is to raise the bar for the adoption of passwordless authentication in Canada. This isn’t just about staying in step with global trends; it’s about empowering our customers to tackle their digital challenges head-on.

We know that passwordless authentication brings users one step toward frictionless access, but that adding biometrics offers an even higher level of security. In this year’s report, Canada is leading its global counterparts with a 26% biometric utilization rate. This means that Canadians are leaning into their physical characteristics such as fingerprints or facial features, instead of relying on their memory (or a sticky note taped to a monitor) when it comes to protecting their personal information and data. It’s a positive shift we’re committed to helping more organizations adopt as the year progresses.

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