In recent years cloud technology has allowed organisations of all sizes and across all industries to become more flexible and more productive.
Identity and mobile management specialist Okta has produced a report based on usage data across more than 2,500 customers and 4,000 apps that sheds light on how organisations and people get work done today, and on what security measures companies use to keep data safe.
"We're seeing companies of all sizes, industries and regions depend on cloud and mobile to propel their businesses forward," says Todd McKinnon, CEO of Okta. "Business leaders are making big investments in cloud and mobile, and Okta's dataset offers some insightful trends into the apps, services and security measures businesses are choosing to leverage".
Among its findings are that company size is no longer a strong indicator of how many cloud or mobile apps a company licenses with a median of between 11 and 16 off-the-shelf cloud apps. There has also been a 40 per cent increase year-on-year in companies protecting their sensitive data with multi-factor authentication for at least one app.
Some enterprise apps have maintained their early leadership positions, for example Salesforce.com in CRM, AWS in infrastructure and Box in content storage - but others have lost ground to the competition, these include Google Apps which is now trailing Microsoft Office 365 in almost every category. Media darling Slack has also done well, increasing its user base by 50 per cent in the second quarter of 2015.
The report also finds that businesses are making aggressive efforts to enable their partners, customers and contractors through new cloud-based applications, websites or portals. The number of the external identities in Okta grew by 284 per cent from July 2014 to July 2015, while internal identities grew 192 per cent in the same timescale.
Companies are also looking at more sophisticated authentication methods. Usage of traditional security questions has dropped 14 per cent since April 2014. Businesses increasingly prefer SMS authentication, with usage increasing by eight per cent in the same period.
With companies putting a premium on security, developers are increasingly creating apps using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) authentication system from the start. 19 per cent of applications that are in the Okta Application Network (OAN) today are SAML-enabled, a six-fold increase over the past two years.
You can get the full Businesses @ Work report from the Okta website.