Cloud Identity Management

Written by Rajat Bhargava on January 5, 2016

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Many pieces of the IT stack have already moved to the cloud. The shift started with some select applications back in the late 90s and early 2000s before it was even called the cloud. Since then, not only have applications moved to the cloud, but server infrastructure also has made the move. Today’s users are more mobile than ever, and they perform their work from just about anywhere. Over the past decade, we have seen some very significant areas of IT move to the cloud, including core productivity applications such as email. Now, a major part of the IT infrastructure is joining the movement to the cloud. What is it? Identity management. You probably already know these cloud identity management platforms as Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS) or Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS).

Why Identity Management Made a Slow Move to the Cloud


There have been a variety of reasons that cloud identity management has been slow to move off-premises. Perhaps the most significant reason is security. IT admins have largely shied away from putting user credentials in the cloud for fear of them being hacked. To allay these fears, Identity-as-a-Service platforms are spending a great deal of time, money, and resources on securing credentials. It’s working, too. Many IT organizations are beginning to realize that third parties may be able to secure their user identities better than they can.

Singularly Focused Web SSO

Another reason that cloud identity management has been slow to take off is that most platforms simply focused on web applications. Known as web single sign-on solutions, these platforms were one dimensional. A True SSO solution is one in which all IT resources, such as systems, applications, and networks, are brought together with a single set of credentials. Most identity management platforms have struggled with this concept. They are strong with either on-premises IT resources, such as systems, or cloud-based applications. One solution to manage both has been elusive. Until now, that is. Directory-as-a-Service handles user and device management regardless of location.

Upsurge in Solutions

The third impediment to cloud identity management has been the explosion of authentication protocols. Historically, identity management solutions focused on one major protocol. OpenLDAP focused on supporting LDAP-based authentication, Microsoft Active Directory largely focused on Kerberos, and the web SSO solutions focused on SAML. Each one was excellent at its particular protocol, but today’s IT environments are a blend of all of the above-mentioned protocols and then some. Next generation Identity-as-a-Service platforms are integrating multiple protocols such as LDAP, SAML, Kerberos, RADIUS, SSH, and more.

Cloud identity management solutions are ready for prime time, and IT organizations are ready to embrace them. With less infrastructure on-premises, a plethora of platforms, and a variety of protocols to support, next generation Directory-as-a-Service platforms delivered from the cloud are an excellent option. To learn more about Identity-as-a-Service, drop us a note. Or, if you prefer, please give DaaS a try for free.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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