Standby tenant: an inconvenient truth

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How to connect your integrations to your CRM platform?

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Techbit is the next-gen CRM platform designed for modern sales teams

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Why using the right CRM can make your team close more sales?

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You’re facing an issue with your Okta tenant. Wouldn’t it be nice (as they say in the song) to just click on a button to switch from this tenant to a copycat of it that works just exactly like it was before the issue.

Concretely, some customers are considering building and maintaining a standby Okta tenant, so they could transparently switch to it in case of disaster. Let’s see why, at Backupta, we believe this approach does not solve anything.

First of all, discussions related to backups and standby instances usually come from a risk assessment, where you try to identify everything that could go wrong on your tenant and study how to mitigate these risks.

The standard topics to cover in a risk assessment are:

  • Confidentiality : e.g. the data you store on Okta is exposed
  • Data Integrity: e.g. the data you store on Okta is corrupted
  • Availability: e.g. Okta is down for whatever reason


Confidentiality is not in the scope of this article as this risk is transferred to Okta (in case you're using the cloud version). This article focuses on Availability and Data Integrity.

Data Integrity

A risk related to Data Integrity can be easily mitigated by a backup solution like Backupta. Your data is backed up regularly, and ready to be restored in case of issue.

There are two main scenarios leading to this risk:

  1. You know precisely which action(s) caused the issue => you can revert this with the selective restore
  2. You are not sure why your tenant is messed up, but you know it was working smoothly last week => you can perform a full restore from a backup you trust

One could think that this restore mechanism could also mitigate an availability risk. Indeed, in case the tenant is not available, one could decide to restore it in a different region to restore the service. Let’s see below why we think that does not help either.


First of all it is important to note that Okta has an availability SLA of 99.99%. Their public status page allows you to monitor the health of their different services, so you can make sure this SLA is achieved.

On top of this, in case of disaster, Okta has an RTO (Recovery Time Objective) of 24h for the full restoration of its services. And in case you have a very critical business requiring a smaller RTO, you can pay to reduce it to 4h (Okta proposes a specific SKU for this purpose).

But ok, let’s assume the 24-hour RTO is not sufficient (which should be fairly rare), or the 4-hour RTO is too expensive. One might think “let’s have a standby instance so we can transparently switch to it when needed”.

That raises two main issues:

1. Stating the obvious

This is not a solution for data integrity. Might seem obvious, but if something is wrong on your main tenant, it will be the case on your standby tenant as well (this tenant is synchronized with your production one).

2. Not transparent at all

The most important part: if you decide to switch to a standby tenant (or to restore your data in a different tenant, as discussed in the previous section), you will have to reconfigure aaaaallllll your applications to link them to the new tenant.

To be precise, for each application you will need to

  • open the App settings in Okta to collect the new URL of the App
  • connect to the App with a break-glass account as an admin (and in most cases, you will not be the admin yourself)
  • change the SSO settings in the App to use this new tenant as your new source of truth

All these actions take time, they are not transparent and they will be performed under a certain level of stress and urgency, which increases the probability of making new mistakes.

Of course the effort needed for these actions depends on the number of applications to restore. But even if you decide to focus on a small number of them (the most critical ones for example) the question is: can you reconfigure all of them in less than 4 hours( or 24 hours depending on the contract you have with Okta)?


This is why at Backupta we believe that the best practice is to transfer all availability-related risk to Okta and transfer all data integrity-related risks to a backup solution, like… Backupta : )

Start protecting your Okta tenants, today.