By Vince Lujan Posted February 13, 2018
Single sign-on (SSO) has become an important category in the identity and access management (IAM) market. Yet, with so many choices, IT admins want to know what the best SSO solution is for modern IT organizations. After all, enterprise cloud services account for 71.3% of the services in use by the average organization, according to SkyHigh Networks.
We believe that the best SSO solution does more than just SSO for web applications. JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® offers a full IDaaS platform, including SSO for systems, apps, files, and networks. First, however, we should discuss the development of the SSO category. In doing so, we will gain a better understanding of SSO, and reveal why the JumpCloud True Single Sign-On™ platform is the best SSO solution.
A History of SSO
The concept of SSO can be traced back to the legacy days of Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). AD is an on-prem identity management platform designed for domain bound networks of Windows® resources. It was released in 1999.
Networks looked a lot different at the time. Most revolved around Windows, and almost everything was on-prem. While this type of network is almost unrecognizable today, one benefit was that users enjoyed an SSO-like experience for access to their IT resources.
Of course, this was because IT resources and user systems were bound together by an AD domain controller. That meant that authentication was handled by a dedicated server located somewhere on-prem. In other words, there was a single source of truth for signing on to virtually any Windows-based IT resource that was available, circa 2000.
Challenges to Traditional SSO
The SSO-like experience with AD was great while it lasted. Expensive, but great. However, the nature of authentication started to change in the mid-2000s. The transformation started as web based services like Salesforce began to spread across the enterprise like wildfire. With each year that passed, more and more categories of applications shifted to the cloud. The only problem was that these new web applications could not be bound to a domain controller. That meant that leveraging AD for authentication was impossible.
The rise of Mac and Linux endpoints added fuel to the fire. Then came cloud productivity platforms like Google Apps (a.k.a. G Suite™) that offered alternatives to Office™ and Exchange™. As if that wasn’t bad enough for AD, Infrastructure-as-a-service providers like AWS™ and GCP™ emerged after that, which could move the entire data center to the cloud.
AD was unable to manage any of these new innovations. An entire generation of so called Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) were created to mitigate the limitations of AD, as a result. They were essentially AD add-ons that could extend on-prem identities to unsupported IT resources. Most IT admins know this category of solution as web application single sign-on or SSO.
This add-on approach has proven to be effective. However, any IT admin will tell you that SSO is far from the most elegant solution. This is due to the fact that SSO is somewhat of a misnomer for this type of setup. For one, users typically have multiple login events and a number of credentials to remember. Further, IT admins are forced to manage the add-ons in addition to AD.
Multiple login events, credentials, and identities to manage hardly constitutes single sign-on in our book. Ideally, IT organizations would be able to leverage one core identity to gain access to their systems, applications, files, and networks. This next generation solution would also securely manage and connect users to IT resources, regardless of platform, provider, protocol, or location.
This type of setup is achievable with JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. In short, users can leverage one cloud identity to gain access to virtually any IT resource. We like to call this concept True Single Sign-On.
The Best SSO is True SSO
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is Active Directory and LDAP reimagined. SSO is a core concept baked into the JumpCloud platform. However, JumpCloud SSO has been expanded to include access to a comprehensive array of IT resources, rather than just web applications.
JumpCloud manages users and their systems (e.g., Linux, Mac, Windows), while simultaneously offering access to cloud and on-prem resources such as Office 365, G Suite, AWS, Salesforce, Jira, and a lot more. The same login also connects users to networks, via RADIUS, and file shares, via Samba, respectively. This ensures that your organization’s WiFi and file server access is streamlined and secure.
These are but a few examples. The bottom line is JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service enables IT organizations to choose the best resources for the business. That is the benefit of having One Directory to Rule Them All®. After all, we know that web app SSO elevates productivity, think of what it can do when it works across virtually all your resources.
Learn More About the Best SSO Solution
“I’m glad that I found JumpCloud. It’s good to have everything in a single pane of glass. As a one-man-show, to have everything there in one place, and not be spinning up a bunch of costly, redundant systems – it just makes everything simpler and easier to manage for me, and, more importantly, our users.”
– Jeffrey Bailey,
The quote above is from Bailey’s case study on implementing a cloud-directory to upgrade IAM at a quickly growing company using Office 365. Read the full UPPAbaby case study for more.
You can see the best SSO solution in action by signing up for a Directory-as-a-Service account today. Your first ten users are free forever to help you explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost. We don’t even require a credit card to get started! You can also contact the JumpCloud team for more information, or schedule a demo. We are happy to geek out with you about our next generation solution whenever you are ready.