Cloud Identity Management Function Directory Services

Written by Rajat Bhargava on June 3, 2017

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The Identity and Access Management market is shifting and morphing. Over the last decade there have been a large number of changes in the IT sector, and those are rippling forward to the IAM market. In fact, you could argue that the IAM moniker is going away, and that it is being replaced by the term cloud identity management, or even in some circles CIAM. This new term comes with some slight differences, one of which being that the overarching market of cloud identity management has functions like directory services.

The New Identity Management Market

securing identities

The identity management market has splintered into a number of categories over the years. Initially, the core directory service was provided by Microsoft Active Directory® and OpenLDAP™. Those two solutions became stalwarts and fixtures in the IT community. For many years these solutions would not even be contested, and as a result many other vendors ended up building capabilities on top of AD and LDAP. These solutions would focus on areas such as single sign-on, privileged identity management, MFA (multi-factor authentication), and governance among others. This resulted in a vibrant identity and access management market.

Undoubtedly, if the IT landscape hadn’t changed over the last decade, the identity management market would not have innovated. But, the IT landscape is dramatically different than it was even just 10 years ago. Today, Microsoft Windows is hardly the dominant platform it once was. In fact, only one in five devices is now Windows, while the other platforms include Mac and Linux (Forbes). The on-prem or collocated data center has become cloud infrastructure provided by organizations like AWS or Google Cloud. On-prem applications morphed into web applications often delivered under a SaaS model. Wired networks are now wireless. All of these fundamental changes are impacting what the next generation of identity management will be.

IT Moving to the Cloud

cloud infrastructure modern office

This new IT landscape is embracing the cloud and shifting to cloud identity management. One of the key reasons for this shift is the changing model of delivery (i.e. cloud-based delivery). The other largest factor is the expansion of new resources that an identity management solution is required to connect to and manage.

Between these two trends, cloud identity management solutions are being asked to function as an organization’s core directory services. Not every cloud identity management can function in this way, but cloud directory services can and do. Just like in years past, the directory service is the glue that binds the IT network together – it’s just that the directory is delivered from the cloud and is able to connect to a wider variety of resources.

A cloud directory service securely manages and connects user identities to the IT resources those users need, including systems (Mac, Windows, Linux), cloud servers (AWS, Google Cloud, etc.), cloud and on-prem applications, and wired or WiFi networks. Modern cloud identity management solutions can function with multiple platforms, providers, protocols, or locations. IT admins simply provision or deprovision users centrally across virtually their entire IT environment – a dramatic step-up over legacy solutions such as Active Directory or OpenLDAP.

Directory Services and Cloud Identity Management

RADIUS WiFi Remote Workers

If you would like to learn more about the cloud identity management function directory services, drop us a note. Alternatively, sign-up for a free cloud directory account and give it a try for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

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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