By Greg Keller Posted January 18, 2016
Providing users with authentication is one of the core functions of developers and IT professionals. User authentication could be required in order to access developer built systems and other applications, as well as the network that the IT admin manages. In either case, the function that the technical organization needs to provide is authentication services. Historically, these authentication services have been built and managed internally. Developers often resort to building functions into the product that manages the account creation, authentication, and termination. Provisioning accounts on systems or applications manually or via tools has long been a part of this laborious process for IT admins.
Internal Authentication: Confronting the Drawbacks
Internally managed authentication services end up taking time and money to administer. In addition, the function needs to be operational 100% of the time since users need to have access at all times. That adds to the complexity because redundant and highly available systems increase cost and time. Moreover, if you build new software applications or add more IT resources, you will need to connect your users into those as well, further increasing the scope and cost of the project.
As a Service is At Your Service
Over the last decade, a number of core functions have been outsourced and delivered as-a-service. Major examples include Infrastructure-as-a-Service (e.g. AWS, Google Compute Engine, and Digital Ocean), Software-as-a-Service (e.g. Salesforce, Workday, and Box), and Platform-as-a-Service (e.g. Heroku and Engine Yard). The common thread in these widely varying cloud services is that they are provided as building blocks for developers and IT organizations. These cloud services can be leveraged to create larger functions, including applications or sales programs. The benefit of these services is that organizations don’t need to spend time recreating something that can be easily and cost-effectively purchased. Building your own data center isn’t nearly as valuable as spending your time, money, and energy on your competitive differentiators.
Benefits of Auth-as-a-Service
So, too, is the case with authentication services. Today, there are Auth-as-a-Service providers that can easily and quickly provide a building block service for internal applications or third-party IT resources such as Mac, Windows, Linux systems, applications, or networks. Depending upon what the user is being authenticated against, organizations can leverage REST API calls or agents to help with the process. Because the solution is delivered as-a-service, it is hosted in the cloud and securely accessible from anywhere. The Auth-as-a-Service solution, also known as Directory-as-a-Service, takes the heavy lifting off of development and IT by providing a core user database, multiple authentication protocols, and deep security features.
If you would like to learn more about how Auth-as-a-Service can help you save time and increase security, drop us a note. We’d be happy to walk you through how it works and why it may be helpful to you.