Cloud Directory Feature: Web App SSO

Written by Vince Lujan on March 18, 2018

Share This Article

As the identity and access management (IAM) space continues to evolve, one area that is in transition is web application single sign-on (SSO). As a critical part of the overall identity management space, web app SSO features are being integrated into modern cloud directory implementations. In this post, we discuss the cloud directory feature: web app SSO. But first, we should outline the development of SSO and the cloud directory.

Origins of Single Sign-On and the Cloud Directory

old office

The story of web app SSO and the cloud directory is actually quite interesting. The origins of both concepts can be traced back to 1993 with the advent of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP for short. The creation of LDAP subsequently led to OpenLDAP and Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) being introduced in the late 1990s.

Active Directory would then go on to become the market share leader, primarily because Microsoft Windows® owned the market for systems and applications. Most IT organizations were content to manage their networks with AD. It was nice while it lasted, but then web applications started to emerge.

Solutions such as Salesforce® led the way, and many others followed suit. This new category of web applications were great for increasing productivity and reducing costs. The challenge for IT admins was they were no longer on-prem, and they weren’t Windows-based. That meant that controlling user access to these resources became much more difficult. The end result was a new generation of identity management tools, called Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS), which included web app SSO.

Say Hello to Web App SSO

saml example

First generation IDaaS solutions like web app SSO were designed to integrate with an on-prem AD instance. In other words, they were effectively AD add-on solutions that could extend on-prem identities to the cloud and beyond. This approach worked well for a while.The trouble was the IT landscape continued to evolve.

For example, Amazon Web Services® (AWS) began to shift the on-prem or collocated data center to the cloud. Mac® and Linux® systems started to replace Windows machines. Files were no longer stored in Windows File Server, but could live in the cloud with solutions like Box® and Google Drive or remain on-prem with alternatives like Samba file servers and NAS appliances. Even network access evolved from wired to WiFi.

All of these changes put tremendous pressure on Active Directory and web application SSO platforms, and it got to the point where neither solution was adequate enough to extend identities to all of the IT resources that users needed. The result was a new generation of cloud identity management platform with a number of integrated capabilities. Or, said another way, the cloud directory was born.

Cloud Directory Feature: Web App SSO

The cloud directory was introduced to securely manage and connect users to the IT resources IT admins and end users needed, including systems, applications, files, and networks. This modern IDaaS platform includes the directory feature for web app SSO. However, the cloud directory has expanded the concept of SSO to include virtually any IT resource  – regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location.

This concept is called True Single Sign-On®, and it comes standard with the JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service platform®. The end result is that IT admins can enjoy One Identity to Rule Them All®. In other words, they can securely manage and connect their users to the breadth of their IT resources from one central management platform. End users also benefit from having One Directory to Rule Them All®, which enables them to leverage one set of credentials to gain access to just about anything. The best part is there’s plenty more where that came from. Sound too good to be true?

Learn More about the Cloud Directory Feature: Web App SSO

virtual true sso

Contact JumpCloud or schedule a demo to learn more about the cloud directory feature: web app SSO. You can also sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account to see the concept of True SSO in action today. Your first ten users are free forever to help you explore every aspect of the JumpCloud platform at no cost, and we don’t even require a credit card to get started. The real question is, what’s stopping you from getting started today?

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

Continue Learning with our Newsletter