By Natalie Bluhm Posted February 28, 2018
The SaaS industry has skyrocketed over the last decade, leaving thousands of web-based applications at the tips of an organization’s fingers. Their ease of use, ability to increase productivity, and lower costs have attributed to organizations adopting close to 50+ web-based applications on average. Actually, that may be an understatement. When you factor in shadow IT, organizations are using closer to 1000 applications. The rise of web apps isn’t the only factor disrupting conventional IAM. The IT landscape has witnessed changes to many other IT resources, from systems to networks and file storage. The problem is, traditional identity management solutions haven’t been able to keep up with the times. That’s why the concept of the cloud directory feature True Single Sign-On ™ is so interesting to IT admins.
But what’s the difference between True Single Sign-On and regular SSO? We’ll explain below. But to fully understand why a cloud directory featuring True Single Sign-On is a perfect identity management solution for modern IT environments, we need to look at the beginning of the IAM space.
LDAP Inspired IAM’s Beginning
The modern era of identity management began over two decades ago when Tim Howes and his colleagues created the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). At the time, desktop computers and the internet started populating the IT landscape, and LDAP’s predecessor, the X.500, was too heavy and complex to work well with the bandwidths of these resources. So, LDAP was created to help solve this problem. It ended up working so well that it inspired two directory services: Microsoft® Active Directory® and OpenLDAP™.
Both of these identity providers were built to manage access to the prevailing environment at the time – specifically, on-prem and Windows-centric resources. This was okay a decade ago when these kinds of resources were most prevalent. Unfortunately, that’s not how most modern IT networks work today.
IT World Moves Away from LDAP and Windows
IT organizations are leveraging the IT resources that work best for them, and many IT assets are no longer LDAP-based or Windows-centric. Today, environments are often leveraging G Suite™ or Office 365™, AWS® or Google Cloud Platform, Mac and Linux machines, cloud storage from Box or Dropbox, and on-prem file servers like NAS appliances or Samba file servers.
Active Directory and LDAP are still an important part of IAM. But they’re no longer the only game in town. These shifting authentication needs have made AD and OpenLDAP ineffective IAM platforms for the modern workplace. Luckily, these changes have been driving forces behind a new era of directory services – the cloud-based directory service.
The Benefits of a Cloud Directory Feature True Single Sign-On
Called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS), the cloud-based directory service isn’t based on one platform or protocol. In fact, this modern cloud directory is focused on creating the concept of True Single Sign-On – leveraging one identity to access virtually any IT resource regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location. The critical difference between this and conventional SSO is that True SSO is endpoint-centric, meaning that the same set of credentials that’s used to unlock your workstation is used to access web apps, infrastructure, and networks.
The benefits of this modern cloud identity management platform are significant. With DaaS, IT organizations can leverage the best IT resources for their organization. As a SaaS based directory service, IT organizations off-load the installation, configuration, maintenance, and management of the core identity provider. Of course, the other benefits include the high availability, security, and scaling provided by the cloud directory. For end users, the opportunity to leverage one set of credentials for the following resources is enticing:
- Windows, Mac, and Linux systems
- On-prem and remote servers
- Legacy and web-based applications
- Physical and virtual file storage
- Wired and wireless networks
- …and more!
Using JumpCloud, you’ll be able to move away from your on-prem identity provider and gain back control over user authentication to all of your IT assets.
Where to Learn More about JumpCloud’s Cloud Directory feature True Single Sign-On
Ready to learn more about the cloud directory feature True Single Sign-On? Well, you have a few options for doing so. You are more than welcome to reach out to us if you have any questions that need answering. If you are more interested in putting our cloud-based directory to the test, sign up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever and you will have full access to our entire platform.
Lastly, two other great resources are our YouTube Channel and Knowledge Base. Both of these are perfect for familiarizing yourself with JumpCloud and for coming to your aid when you need some help along the way.