Box Strengthens Mobile Security Ties With Okta

Instead of entering password after password to sign into each and every cloud service you use, what if you could enter just one code to authenticate yourself across the whole lot?

That’s the feature a number of cybersecurity firms—such as One Login, Centrify, and Ping Identity—hawk through their “single sign-on” services. Punch in a code once, gain access across the board.

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On Thursday the cloud storage company Box (BOX) said it is strengthening an existing partnership with Okta, one such digital ID manager. Now when users wish to boot up “Box for enterprise mobility management,” an app that lets companies securely control the content on employee devices, they can do so in two taps—no usernames, no passwords—from Okta’s mobile app store.

IT managers can use the setup to put data policies in place for workers’ phones, maintaining consistency across their devices and business applications, which might include Microsoft (MSFT) Office 365, Workday (WDAY), or Salesforce (CRM).

“For us we want to people to be able to have the most frictionless experience possible,” said Aaron Levie, CEO and co-founder of Box, on a call with Fortune, mentioning that the pair’s partnership has helped drive adoption of his company’s app over the last couple of years. “Okta has been an enabler and an accelerant of that.”

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“The reason we started working with Box is because customers demanded it,” said Todd McKinnon, CEO and co-founder of Okta, on the same call. In fact, Box is one of the top three most popular apps used by Okta customers, according to the company; the other two are Salesforce and Office 365.

Okta was last valued by investors at $1.2 billion, making it a member of the decreasingly exclusive “unicorn” startup club. The firm is likely gearing up for an eventual IPO.

Microsoft, citing competitive reasons. recently ejected Okta from a yearslong sponsorship seat at the company’s upcoming Ignite conference. The tech giant has begun offering similar easy login tools of its own, as has Google (GOOG).

“They’re getting into the game for themselves,” McKinnon said about his firm’s dismissal by the Redmond, Wash., tech giant. “We don’t want to get into a PR war.”

“Even in Microsoft’s case, they have been moving more in the direction of openness,” said Levie, referring to a trend at companies like IBM (IBM) and others to boost interoperability with various services—a trend that Box has greatly benefitted from. (See the company’s recently strengthened partnership with Microsoft too.)

“Obviously the sponsorship piece notwithstanding,” he added.

Box reported on its latest earnings call that it had 57,000 customers and revenues of $85 million in the fourth quarter, beating analyst expectations of $81.8 million. The company still is not profitable, losing 26 cents per share versus analysts’ expected loss of 29 cents per share.

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