Cloud computing is radically changing the way businesses approach a wide range of tasks, activities and processes. For Rosetta Stone, which sells computer-assisted learning software for more than 30 languages, the cloud has ushered in a new era of productivity and efficiency.
“We have turned to the cloud in a big way,” says George Hegedus, director of enterprise services for the 21-year-old Arlington, Va., firm. “It is fundamentally changing the way our people work and the way we do business.”
Over the last couple of years, Rosetta Stone has turned to a number of cloud-based products and services, including Salesforce.com, Salesforce Chatter, Box, Workday, Conquer, DocuSign and Google Apps. “We’ve made a concerted effort to decommission our old IT systems and use cloud-based systems,” Hegedus explains. “We’re looking to reduce our data center footprint, hardware overhead, and the need for our staff to keep everything running and manage updates.”
Migrating to the cloud has provided other benefits, including greater reliability and uptime, and the ability to log into work anywhere and at anytime with any device. “We’ve become more strategic in our approach to IT,” Hegedus says.
However, migrating to the cloud has also created a few challenges. One of the biggest involves managing authentication and single sign-on. “One of the problems we had in the past was the password resets associated with all the different cloud accounts,” he says. “It was a big issue for our help desk, and it taxed our resources.
Rosetta Stone CIO Pradeep Mannakkara turned to Okta, a provider of enterprise identity management software, to build a secure framework for accessing all the cloud applications while reducing password resets. “We required a single sign-on solution that could handle identity management issues,” he says.
When employees log on to the Okta system, they view small boxes that represent various cloud apps. They’re able to use these apps throughout their workday without being forced to sign into each service individually. “The system created a straightforward way to manage the process,” Hegedus says.
The benefits have been significant. Password resets previously ranked as the number-one task for the firm’s help desk. It has subsequently dropped below number five. Consequently, “The IT staff is now able to devote time to more strategic issues,” he points out, “and, without the need to call for support, employee productivity has increased.”
In addition, Rosetta Stone can add new cloud apps and services without the need to set up new passwords for the entire firm, and it can provision and de-provision individual employees instantly. In the past, getting a new employee set up could take a couple of days. “There was a good deal of wasted time and productivity,” Hegedus says. “That’s no longer the case.”
There’s also no need for a VPN because employees can connect securely to cloud apps through Okta from any device.
“People have access to everything they need from day one,” Hegedus reports.”Cloud-based software and more robust authentication software have greatly simplified work. And it has made IT a lot more fun.”