How Larimer County Went Fully Remote With Okta + Auth0
The Colorado county centralized identity for both employees and citizens in just weeks
About Larimer County
Larimer County (Colorado) government serves all residents and businesses through stewardship of numerous community resources, infrastructure improvement and maintenance, planning services, transparent public records, human and economic health initiatives and broad community-wide public safety services. The County has a rich agricultural and western heritage that is reflected in our commitment to a high quality of life and preservation of our natural areas.
Like many counties in U.S. states, Larimer County, Colorado is tasked with serving the cities and citizens who live within its jurisdiction in very diverse ways. For example, in addition to managing departments like the sheriff’s and assessor’s offices, they’re responsible for maintaining roads and bridges, parks and natural areas, engineering and business permits, and vehicle licensing.
In the past, many of the 28 departments that provide these services had their own websites and online service portals. But the county knew they needed to unify those services in a single platform to better serve the citizens who live within its borders.
Central to that effort was the need for a simpler way to authenticate those who would use that system.
“We had 28 different departments, each with different systems and tools, that we brought into one place,” says Gregg Turnbull, Director of Innovations and Insights for Larimer County, CO. “We realized we needed a central, secure way for both employees and citizens to be authenticated.”
Larimer County Enlists Okta + Auth0 to Help Centralize Identity
The team at Larimer began centralizing their authentication systems with 2,200 of their employees so they could move between applications seamlessly. To do so, they engaged Okta to help them transition away from total reliance on-premise systems like Active Directory, integrating Okta’s platform for all 35 of their apps in less than a month.
“Okta made SAML integration really quick and easy. In most cases, it was as simple as connecting things, entering in the right values, and turning it on,” Turnbull explains. “Within about two weeks, we had most of our applications online.”
After seeing the difference centralized identity made for their employees, the county realized their citizens would benefit from a similar experience. Turnbull and the team evaluated various citizen identity systems before selecting Auth0. Auth0 was the best solution for a citizen-facing use case due to the features it offered like social logins, as well as strong developer-focused documentation and modules for Larimer County’s developers.
Shortly after integrating Auth0’s platform, they realized having both solutions was actually more beneficial than they initially thought due to the way each platform complemented the other.
“Both tools worked really well together,” Turnbull explains. “We were able to create a social login connection in Auth0 that made it possible for employees to navigate our applications as citizens or employees without ever switching systems.”
Centralized Identity Helps Larimer County Stay Productive Amidst The Pandemic
With a central identity solution in place, Larimer County was able to allow its employees to work remotely without compromising security. For example, the county added multi-factor authentication (MFA) to admin accounts with Okta to reduce the risks from malicious actors. They were also able to integrate their systems with LinkedIn Learning, allowing them to create and deploy training to employees wherever they were.
Ultimately, moving remote helped the county remain productive when the COVID-19 pandemic hit when other counties were shutting down. “Other counties were telling their employees, ‘We can't afford to pay you if you're not working, so we have to cut back your hours,'” Turnbull explains. “But we didn't have to do that because our team had access to all of their tools while they were at home.”
Centralizing identity for citizens with Auth0 also benefited Larimer County during the pandemic, allowing them to continue to provide many of the services their citizens needed online such as hunting permits or election registration. In the future, they plan to integrate additional services they offer to citizens with Auth0 to further streamline.
“Our website and intranet are powered by Auth0 because we know that every app we add to Auth0 triples down on the cost benefits there,” Turnbull says. “But we haven't even scratched the surface of all we could do with both Auth0 and Okta yet.”
Curious How Your Organization Can Benefit From Auth0?
Learn how our customers are saving time and reducing costs by reading The Total Economic Impact of Auth0 by Forrester Consulting.
The Auth0 Identity Platform, a product unit within Okta, takes a modern approach to identity and enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. Auth0 is a highly customizable platform that is as simple as development teams want, and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit https://auth0.com.