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Credit: Rami Al-zayat

Post-pandemic work drives app diversity

Okta’s annual Businesses at Work report provides a comprehensive snapshot of modern workforces and the tools they use to maximise productivity. 

This year’s report highlights how businesses and individuals have adapted their app usage to accommodate changing work styles and travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, with security apps, electronic signature apps, and cloud platforms leading the way as the fastest-growing app categories in APAC based on unique users.

According to Okta’s Businesses at Work 2023 report, travel apps saw significant growth in 2022 as business trips resumed globally with the lifting of pandemic restrictions. These apps experienced a 43 per cent YoY growth in the number of customers and a staggering 197 per cent growth in unique users across all industries. Additionally, business supplies emerged as a top category with a 35 per cent increase in customers and a 77 per cent increase in unique users worldwide.

Design software also continued its upward trend and ranked as the third fastest-growing category worldwide with a 31 per cent YoY growth by the number of customers, following a chart-topping 39 per cent YoY growth last year. In Asia-Pacific, Australia saw a 27 per cent YoY customer growth in the design software category.

Furthermore, the Asia-Pacific region is driving significant growth in security tools, with an 85 per cent YoY increase in unique users. Electronic signature tools and developer tools also saw significant growth, increasing by 61 per cent and 55 per cent YoY, respectively. Cloud platforms grew by 50 per cent YoY in unique users, while the use of analytics tools increased by 47 per cent YoY.

The hottest apps:

  • In APAC, Microsoft 365 is the most popular app by a number of users. Amazon Web Services ranks second, and Google Workspace comes in third.
  • The APAC region is heavily focused on security and developer tools this year. Jamf Pro, Netskope, LastPass, and ZScaler battled for supremacy in the security category: Jamf Pro posted 57 per cent YoY customer growth and 118 per cent YoY growth in unique users.
  • Globally this year, the fastest-growing apps feature a diverse cast, providing expertise in security, communication, corporate travel, HR, cloud-app development, and collaboration.
  • Top among the fastest growing apps globally is Kandji, an Apple mobile device management tool, which posted 172 per cent YoY growth by a number of customers. Kandji, an Okta Ventures portfolio company, enables IT administrators to automate repetitive tasks and introduce new features to the device management space.

Growth in multi-cloud usage

Transformation efforts that accelerated during the pandemic have helped businesses get the boost they need for more efficient hybrid workforce support, more reliable security, and more seamless global collaboration.

In this regard, the growth in multi-cloud adoption that has been clear since 2017 shows no sign of slowing down, and the favourite pairing of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) continues to grow. 

  • While AWS remains dominant as both a single-cloud platform and as part of many organisations’ multi-cloud strategies, there is also exciting growth from other providers on the horizon. 
  • Google Cloud Platform is growing at an impressive clip, with a 40 per cent YoY increase in a number of customers and a 60 per cent increase in unique users.
  • Microsoft Azure grew its worldwide customer base by 10 per cent YoY and its unique users by 16 per cent YoY.

Apps for our lives

The line between work and personal life is blurrier than ever, and so are apps that offer combined corporate and personal usage. 

  • Digital payment gateway Paypal and newcomers Venmo and Stripe are finding strong footing in top finance and banking apps.
  • For health and wellness, FitBit is topped by a number of customers globally. Interestingly, the two fastest growing apps in this category by the number of customers — LiveWell (up 32 per cent YoY by a number of customers) and Modern Health (up 30 per cent YoY by a number of customers) — focus on mental health. 
  • In the world of social media, LinkedIn holds the top spot, while TeamSnap is the fastest growing by number of customers.

Security at work

Remote and hybrid workforces are here to stay, so protecting network access from the home office and places such as a coffee shop is a top priority for many companies. Businesses are stepping up higher-assurance factors in their MFA deployments as they move away from perimeter defenses that are no longer adequate for dynamic, cloud-driven environments.

  • Okta’s study has found that low-assurance security questions globally are experiencing the slowest growth across the board (3 per cent YoY by number of customers), while high-assurance security keys/biometrics (including WebAuthentication) are growing more quickly — 46 per cent YoY growth by a number of customers, and a chart-topping 211 per cent by unique users. 
  • Okta customers are approaching Zero Trust strategically with solutions that target user, device, and network perspectives.
    • In the network context, we’re seeing a 147 per cent increase in the use of risk-based policies over the past two years. 
    • From a user context, we’re seeing 60 per cent growth in the number of customers implementing WebAuthn, a new global standard for password-free web authentication. 
    • And on the device front, we’re seeing a 21 per cent increase in the number of customers deploying device-trust configurations.

“The Businesses at Work report delivers unique insights into the ways businesses have used apps to adapt to the new workstyle dynamics in the post-pandemic era,” said Goodman. “In this new normal, it will be crucial to ensure these apps are resilient, so they can be accessed reliably and securely to drive business goals over the long term.”  

The Businesses at Work 2023 report is based on anonymised data from Okta’s more than 17,000 global customers and the Okta Integration Network, which includes over 7,000 integrations with cloud, mobile, web apps, and IT infrastructure providers. It tells a complex story of the growing and changing world of app usage. The study included key Asia Pacific markets like Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, India, ANZ, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia and several other countries in Southeast Asia and IndoChina.

“As economies opened up in the past year, businesses and their users turned to a wide range of apps to get work done, from travel apps to book business trips to security tools to shore up cyber defenses,” said Ben Goodman, Okta’s Senior Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific . “This is a reflection of the new work environments that have emerged, along with the needs of a hybrid work arrangement that is here to stay.”  

To learn more about the current state of identity in APAC and dive deeper into findings from the Businesses at Work 2023 report, visit here.

For further information, click here.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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