By Vince Lujan Posted February 1, 2018
Network attached storage (NAS) appliances are an essential aspect of modern IT networks. They often hold an organization’s most critical data and applications. However, as more IT management tools shift to the cloud, more IT admins are interested in cloud authentication for network attached storage solutions.
A cloud identity management platform that can manage user access to NAS devices would be highly advantageous for IT organizations that are looking to move IAM to the cloud while retaining an on-prem file server. JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® represents a particularly powerful example of a cloud platform that can manage NAS access. However, before we discuss the benefits of this cloud identity and access management (CIAM) platform, we should discuss the benefits of NAS appliances and why cloud authentication for network attached storage solutions would be helpful.
Traditional Authentication for Network Attached Storage
Network attached storage solutions are computer appliances designed for large volumes of data and applications. They provide centralized storage that can be accessed by any number of computers connected to the network. NAS devices can even offer advantages compared to cloud storage alternatives (i.e., Google Drive, Dropbox, Box), especially with larger file sizes or IT environments where bandwidth is limited.
Samba file servers and solutions from providers like Synology, QNAP, and FreeNAS are common examples of NAS appliances. Some of them have served IT admins well for decades. For example, Samba was first released in the early 1990’s as an open source iteration of the SMB/CIFS protocols that allowed Unix-based systems (including NAS appliances) to communicate with systems running early versions of Microsoft® Windows®. Samba file servers in particular have been popular storage solutions ever since, primarily because they can be easily integrated with all versions of DOS, Windows, OS/2, Linux, and more.
Samba file servers and NAS appliances are certainly valuable assets. The issue for modern IT organizations is that authentication to NAS solutions has historically been provided by complicated on-prem identity management platforms like Microsoft Active Directory® (AD). Of course, this wasn’t an issue when AD was first introduced in 1999, given that NAS appliances are also on-prem solutions. Nevertheless, as more IT management tools shift to the cloud, IT admins have come to the realization that cloud authentication for NAS solutions would be helpful.
This is because Samba file servers and NAS appliances are one of the few IT resources that many organizations actually prefer on-prem. At the same time, IT admins seek to eliminate the majority of their on-prem identity management infrastructure in favor of cloud alternatives. Ideally, IT organizations would be able to leverage a comprehensive cloud identity management platform that can also provide authentication for network attached storage. The good news is that a next generation cloud identity and access management (CIAM) platform has emerged that can do that. It’s called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®.
Authentication for Network Attached Storage with JumpCloud
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service can securely manage and connect users to their systems, applications, files, and networks. Cloud authentication for network attached storage solutions is a feature of this hosted directory service. We call it LDAP-as-a-Service. In essence, IT admins can manage access to on-prem Samba file servers and NAS appliances (i.e., Synology, QNAP, and more) with one comprehensive directory service platform in the cloud.
This approach can be highly advantageous for cloud-forward IT organizations that leverage on-prem storage solutions. The key benefit is that IT admins can eliminate the majority of their on-prem identity management infrastructure (e.g., AD), yet, continue to manage user access to NAS appliances with LDAP authentication.
As Brian Abston, Engineer/Admin/DevOps at IllumiCare, stated, “JumpCloud provides online LDAP for companies that don’t want a local AD.”
Check out our whiteboard video for an in-depth description of the JumpCloud LDAP authentication to Samba file servers and NAS appliances.
Contact the JumpCloud team for more information about cloud authentication for network attached storage solutions. You can also sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account and manage access to Samba file servers and NAS appliances from the cloud today. We offer ten free users to help you explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost. These ten users are free forever, and we don’t even require a credit card to get started!