Ping Identity

Ping Identity vs. Okta: Differences, Limitations, and How to Choose

What Is Ping Identity? 

Ping Identity offers an identity and access management (IAM) solution that focuses on enterprise security. It enables organizations to secure their IT environments through single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and access management. 

Ping Identity’s platform is designed to support both cloud and on-premises applications, providing flexibility in deployment options. It caters to large enterprises by offering a scalable solution that can manage thousands of identities and handle complex identity scenarios. 

By leveraging open standards such as SAML, OAuth, and SCIM, Ping Identity facilitates seamless integration with a wide range of applications and services. Its emphasis on security is evident through advanced features like risk-based authentication and identity federation, which help organizations protect against unauthorized access and identity theft.

What Is Okta? 

Okta is a cloud-based identity and access management service that provides solutions for single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, lifecycle management, and more. It is designed to help organizations manage and secure user authentication into applications, and facilitate secure access to resources across a variety of platforms, from cloud to on-premises environments. 

Okta provides an extensive integration network, with over 6,500 pre-built integrations with popular cloud, on-premises, and mobile applications. Okta’s platform is built on a scalable architecture that can support organizations of all sizes from small businesses to large enterprises.

Ping Identity vs Okta: Key Differences 

1. Deployment Options

Ping Identity provides flexibility with both cloud-based and on-premises deployment models, making it suitable for enterprises that have complex infrastructure or strict regulatory compliance requirements necessitating on-premises solutions. This hybrid approach allows businesses to tailor their IAM strategy to fit their specific environment.

Okta, primarily known for its cloud-native IAM solutions, emphasizes a fast and efficient cloud deployment. This approach reduces the need for extensive on-premises infrastructure, lowering the overall IT overhead for organizations. Okta’s cloud-first model is particularly beneficial for companies seeking agility, scalability, and ease of integration with cloud applications.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a critical security feature for any IAM solution. It ensures that only authorized users gain access to a system by requiring them to provide at least two forms of identification.

Ping Identity’s multi-factor authentication provides support for a broad range of authentication methods, including SMS, voice biometrics, and FIDO keys. It also offers risk-based authentication, which adjusts the authentication requirements based on the perceived risk of a login attempt.

Okta uses adaptive multi-factor authentication. It evaluates the risk of each login attempt based on user behavior and context, then applies the appropriate authentication policy. This adaptive approach reduces friction for end-users by applying stricter authentication requirements only when necessary.

3. Integrations

Ping Identity supports a wide variety of integrations, including Active Directory, LDAP, and various SAML and OAuth providers. These integrations allow Ping Identity to provide single sign-on (SSO) and access management across a range of applications and platforms.

Okta provides over 6,500 pre-built integrations with cloud, on-premises, and mobile applications. This extensive range of integrations simplifies the process of implementing Okta into an existing IT environment and allows it to support virtually any existing business application.

4. Threat Detection

Ping Identity uses AI and machine learning to detect and respond to threats, identifying anomalies early before they become major issues. Its threat detection capabilities extend to APIs, providing additional security for businesses that rely on API-based integrations.

Okta’s threat detection relies on its ThreatInsight feature, which uses contextual access management to assess risk and respond accordingly. ThreatInsight takes into account factors such as location, device, and network reputation to assess the risk of a login attempt and can block suspicious login attempts automatically.

5. Pricing and Licensing

Ping Identity offers three pricing tiers, starting with the Essential tier at $20,000 per year. The Plus tier starts at $40,000 per year, while the Premium tier uses a quote-based pricing model, meaning that the cost will depend on the specific needs of your business. While this can offer more flexibility, it can also make it difficult to predict your costs.

Okta pricing starts at $1,500 per year, with SSO priced at $2 per user per month, MFA at $3 per user per month, and Access Gateway at $3 per user per month. There are also discounts for larger enterprises with over 5000 users. This pricing model is more straightforward, making it easier for businesses to understand and plan for their IAM costs.

6. Use Cases

Ping Identity is commonly used in sectors like finance, healthcare, and the public sector. Its flexibility in deployment options and robust security features make it a popular choice for organizations that deal with sensitive data.

Okta is a favorite among tech companies and startups, thanks to its cloud-native approach and extensive integrations. Its adaptive multi-factor authentication is attractive for organizations that want to balance security with user experience.

7. Limitations

Let’s review some of the limitations of these two platforms, based on user reviews shared on the G2 platform.

Users of Ping Identity report the following limitations:

  • Complex user interface, particularly PingAuthorize and PingDirectory.
  • Performance issues, such as delays in pop-up notifications and initial sign-on on the Windows interface.
  • Difficulties with role management and entitlement creation within Ping Identity. 
  • Synchronization issues, changes do not reflect consistently or timely across the system. 
  • Setting up multi-factor authentication, particularly with hardware tokens like YubiKeys, is not intuitive and requires assistance from support.
  • Upgrades for PingFederate require a simultaneous rollout, which makes it difficult to achieve zero downtime.

Users of Okta report the following limitations:

  • Users have experienced issues with overly restrictive configurations, saying that Okta should provide clearer best practices. 
  • Some users experience slow load times and occasional failure in credential recognition.
  • Usability issues in the Okta authenticator app, with users noting difficulties in the authentication process and rapid timeouts leading to repeated login attempts.
  • Password management policies are not user friendly, with a high frequency of mandatory resets and restrictions on reusing previous passwords.
  • Timing of authentication codes and frequency of push notification delays create user experience issues. 

Ping Identity vs Okta: How to Choose

Choosing between Ping Identity and Okta for your identity and access management (IAM) solution depends on several factors that align with your organization’s specific needs, infrastructure, and strategic goals. Below are key considerations to help guide your decision:

Organizational Requirements

  • Complexity and scale: If your organization has a complex IT infrastructure, especially with a significant on-premises footprint, Ping Identity’s flexibility with both cloud-based and on-premises deployment might be more suitable.
  • Regulatory compliance: For industries subject to stringent regulatory requirements, Ping’s hybrid approach can offer the necessary control over where and how data is managed.
  • Cloud adoption: If your organization prefers cloud-native solutions and prioritizes quick deployment and minimal on-premises infrastructure, Okta’s cloud-first approach may be more aligned with your needs.

Security Features

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Both platforms offer strong MFA capabilities, but the choice between Ping Identity’s broad range of authentication methods and Okta’s adaptive MFA might come down to the level of security flexibility versus user convenience you need.
  • Threat detection: Evaluate the importance of AI and machine learning for threat detection in your IAM strategy. Ping Identity’s AI-driven threat detection might be appealing if your organization relies heavily on API-based integrations.

Integration Needs

  • Application ecosystem: Consider the applications and services your organization uses. Okta’s extensive library of pre-built integrations might simplify implementation in a diverse application environment.
  • Custom integration requirements: If your organization requires extensive custom integrations, especially with on-premises applications, Ping Identity’s support for open standards like SAML, OAuth, and SCIM could offer more flexibility.

Usability and Management

  • User experience: Assess the feedback on the usability of both platforms. If ease of use for end-users and administrators is a priority, consider the reported user interface and performance issues.
  • Support and documentation: Consider the level of support and documentation you require. Both platforms offer comprehensive resources, but your team’s familiarity with IAM solutions could influence your choice.

Frontegg: Ultimate Alternative to Ping Identity and Okta

The industry standard today involves the use of authentication providers to “build the door”, but what about Authorization (the door knob)? Most authentication vendors don’t go that extra mile, forcing SaaS vendors to invest in expensive in-house user management development. This often leads to delays in core technology development, which negatively impacts innovation and time-to-market (TTM) metrics. 

Frontegg’s end-to-end user management platform allows you to authenticate and authorize users with just a few clicks. Integration takes just a few minutes and a few lines of code, thanks to its plug-and-play nature. It’s also multi-tenant by design and self-served by nature, something that helps reduce friction and improves user satisfaction. Also, all roles and permissions can be managed via a centralized dashboard. It’s really that easy.


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