Cloud IdP

Written by Jon Griffin on January 24, 2018

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Most IT management tool categories have shifted to the cloud, but not all of them. In the identity management space, the directory service has been slow to join infrastructure, applications, and file storage in the cloud. Now, a new generation of cloud identity provider (IdP) is emerging, and it is known as JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®.

Let’s take a look at the IT landscape when IdP’s first emerged, how the IT landscape has changed since then, and why a cloud IdP is an excellent solution for today’s modern IT environment.

The Beginning of IdPs

The beginning of Cloud IdP

Historically, the identity provider has been on-prem, and this makes a lot of sense when you look at where the identity provider started. The IdP was really created because of the advent of LDAP and a few other authentication protocols. These protocols were embedded in the two most popular directory services solutions called OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft® Active Directory®. Over time, AD would become the market share leader because of its tight support and integration with Windows systems, applications, and networks. Of course, in the early 2000s, virtually all networks were Windows based.

A Changing IT Landscape Calls for a Cloud IdP

Changing IT landscape needs Cloud IdP

The Microsoft approach to the IdP worked well until the IT landscape started to shift. Web-based applications flooded IT environments; users started to gravitate towards Mac and Linux systems; wireless networks began to replace wired ones; and servers and file storage moved to the cloud. These changes altered the relationship between users and Active Directory. AD was no longer able to smoothly and efficiently connect users to all of their IT resources. Additionally, this new relationship dramatically reduced IT’s visibility over their environment. Over time, IT lost the ability to ensure end users where complying with company and security policies across a variety of IT resources.

The result was that a number of ‘add-on’ solutions were created including directory extensions, web application SSO (single sign-on) solutions, and privileged identity management platforms. All of these created a complex web of solutions for the overall identity management infrastructure for an organization.

The Cloud Impacts all Approaches to Identity Management

Cloud IdP covers all approached to identity management

As the cloud started to become more critical, many IT organizations used it as a catalyst to completely rethink their approach to IT. G Suite® and AWS are two excellent examples of innovations that have caught on. The result is that IT admins need to do far less work with installing hardware, purchasing software, installing and configuring systems, and managing and maintaining IT resources.

The concepts of SaaS and IaaS are creating real efficiencies for IT. All of these benefits have now culminated in the introduction of a cloud IdP as well. The concept of moving the identity provider to the cloud can be scary to some given that an organization’s credentials are hosted there. A new generation of cloud identity provider is not only dealing with security issues, but completely rethinking the concept of directory services.

Try a Cloud IdP with JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service

Cloud IdP with JumpCloud

The modern JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform is securely managing and connecting users to the IT resources they need regardless of platform, provider, protocol, or location. This cloud IdP solution supports a variety of systems (Mac, Linux, and Windows) and IaaS providers (AWS, GCP, and IBM) via our system agent. Our system agent makes it possible to remotely execute tasks, enforce security policies, and efficiently support end users. Additionally, we support LDAP, SAML, RADIUS, and Samba authentication protocols. This allows us to provide IT admins with centralized identity management across legacy and web-based applications (using LDAP and SAML), wired and wireless networks (via RADIUS), and physical and virtual storage (using Samba).

Our cloud IdP solution makes it possible to regain the widespread visibility IT needs in order to create a secure, well managed IT environment. End users, on the other hand, benefit from frictionless access to all of their IT resources.

Learn more about JumpCloud’s Cloud IdP Solution

If you are interested in learning more about the architecture and IT protocols used to create this cloud IdP service, consider watching the whiteboard video above. You can also find out more about our cloud-based directory service by reaching out to us. We’ll gladly answer any questions you might have. If you are ready to try your hand at JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service, sign up for a free account. All of our features are available, and your first ten users are free forever.

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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