AWS IAM Identity Center (formerly known as AWS SSO) and Google Cloud Identity both work with identity providers (IdPs) to enable access to resources. Like many tools, their differences lie in the details, like how they grant access, which tools they work with, how much they cost, and other business-specific considerations. Further, since AWS and Google are both cloud service providers, each solution will work seamlessly in its own ecosystem, which could be a consideration factor for companies using one of these vendors for cloud services.
Ultimately, the right choice depends on your unique needs and environment. Fortunately, it’s possible to combine the two and reap the benefits of both. Read on to learn more about Google Cloud Identity, AWS IAM Identity Center, and how you can combine the two with JumpCloud.
Overview of AWS IAM Identity Center
AWS IAM Identity Center is an IAM solution that connects AWS users to a wide range of IT resources via single sign-on (SSO). These IT resources include various AWS services and third-party web applications.
Like many IDaaS solutions, AWS IAM Identity Center federates identities to resources using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML 2.0) and provisions them using System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM). It leverages a core IdP, which could be AWS Directory Service or a third-party IdP.
Overview of Google Cloud Identity
Google Cloud Identity is an IAM and endpoint management platform. As Google puts it, “It offers the identity services and endpoint administration that are available in Google Workspace as a stand-alone product.”
Like AWS IAM Identity Center, it provides SSO with multi-factor authentication (MFA) for apps and infrastructure along with a library of connectors. It also leverages a core IdP, which can be either Google Cloud Platform or a third-party IdP. However, it differs from AWS IAM Identity Center in its device management capabilities: Google Cloud Identity extends its management to endpoints, whereas AWS IAM Identity Center maintains its sole focus on identities.
Google Cloud Identity supports SAML 2.0, OIDC, LDAP, and JIT provisioning. It also offers integrations with many other resources — here’s the full list.
Comparing AWS IAM Identity Center and Google Cloud Identity
AWS and Google are both cloud service providers, so they’ll each favor their own ecosystem. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t support resources outside of their own. Both providers use protocols like SAML, JIT, and OIDC to integrate with third-party applications, although each will differ slightly in which resources it supports.
There are additional considerations to be aware of, like the service’s availability in your region and each option’s pricing and packaging. While both services have a free offering, for example, they can both be priced up for premium features.
Finally, Google Cloud Identity offers endpoint management, while AWS IAM Identity Center does not.
The following are some key considerations when weighing AWS IAM Identity Center and Google Cloud Identity.
- Device management: Google Cloud Identity offers endpoint management; AWS IAM Identity Center does not.
- Policy creation: Google and AWS have slightly different processes for creating policies around user permissions. With Google, you create a policy by assigning roles to identities (i.e., editor or viewer). With AWS, you create policies by combining resources, actions, and effects.
- Integration with AD: Both AWS and offer connectors to AD.
- SSO: Both offer SSO.
- MFA: Both offer MFA.
- Region: Services may differ by region.
- Pricing: Both have free offerings, but their pricing and packaging changes as the product scales.
Can You Connect Google Cloud Identity with AWS IAM Identity Center?
There are a few ways you can connect Google Cloud Identity with AWS IAM Identity Center. Both AWS and Google offer the option to federate to third-party identities, so you can connect to Google identities through AWS or connect to AWS identities through Google.
Ideally, you’ll want an SSO solution that can connect you to all the resources you need to do your work — not just those that AWS or Google support. JumpCloud partners with both Google and AWS so you can power flexible resource access and manage your users and devices in one place.
One User Account for Both AWS and GCP
Many IT organizations leverage resources hosted at both AWS and GCP in tandem (or Google Workspace for that matter), so finding a core identity solution that works across both platforms is often more practical than choosing between the two. In short, organizations need a cloud IdP that can integrate and manage AWS and Google identities and provide web application single sign-on capabilities.
JumpCloud bridges the gap between AWS and GCP, allowing you to get the best from both — and more. JumpCloud acts as an open cloud directory for users to connect with AWS and Google Cloud Identity to access tools like Google Workspace, Office 365, HRIS systems, web applications, and more. As a result, IT admins can provide SSO capabilities for all of their users from one centralized location in the cloud and without having to choose between AWS or Google Cloud.