By Jon Griffin Posted March 27, 2018
The term IDaaS (Identity-as-a-Service) was created by analysts to describe the web application single sign-on (SSO) category. It’s not really clear why they chose the term because it wasn’t technically accurate, but it seems to have stuck. Today, the meaning of the term is changing to a more accurate description. Identity-as-a-Service is morphing from being a web app SSO construct to a much broader description of the cloud identity management market. In this post, we will examine the capabilities of an IDaaS solution, and how it got to where it is today.
Origins of IDaaS
As mentioned, the term IDaaS was originally created to refer to web application SSO providers. The market evolution that led to this started with the advent of web applications (e.g., Salesforce®, Google Apps a.k.a G Suite™). When web apps came into prominence, the core identity provider for most organizations was Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). AD was designed to control access to on-prem Windows systems and applications, and it did so well. When combined with a domain controller, AD was the mechanism used to authenticate users into the network.
The directory was important to the origination of the IDaaS term because of its limitations. As web applications began to appear, Active Directory struggled to manage access to these non-Windows resources located in the cloud. Instead of adapting to the innovations, however, AD decided to let third party vendors do the work. The result was a generation of web application single sign-on providers that moved in to solve the problem. These solutions would leverage the AD identity provider as the authoritative source of truth, and extend those identities to web applications. As these web application SSO solutions started to be delivered from the cloud, analysts and vendors jumped on the term Identity-as-a-Service or IDaaS.
While the name may be a misnomer for the category due to the fact that the core identity is really with the on-prem directory service, it still caught on. It’s now a term that is thrown around the industry a great deal.
The Capabilities of an IDaaS Solution Grow
The good news is that with many advancements in the space, we can have a more encompassing view of what IDaaS means. With cloud identity management platforms such as JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, the identity is really being delivered as a service from the cloud. This more accurate description fits the IDaaS term. With the cloud-based directory, just about everything an end user could need, including systems, applications, files, and networks, are all connected through a centralized platform.
As such, IDaaS no longer needs to be limited to web app SSO.
In fact, IDaaS can now mean much more than that. With a cloud directory like JumpCloud, IDaaS can mean the elimination of on-prem directory services like Active Directory and other IAM tools. Directory-as-a-Service is central user management, True SSO™, system management, cloud LDAP, RADIUS-as-a-Service, and more. With it implemented in your environment, no matter what protocol, provider, platform, or location your organization has, your end users will have complete access to systems, applications, files, and networks.
Want to see the capabilities of an IDaaS solution in action? Try JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service for free. We offer all accounts 10 free users forever, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot. If you have any questions, you can reach out to us here.