Defining Directory-as-a-Service™ (DaaS)

By Greg Keller Posted November 21, 2014

Define

Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS) is the modern adaptation of directory services. Directory services were first started by the telcos, and then an open source standard called Lightweight Access Directory Protocol (LDAP) was created as an easier way to implement them.

Since then, LDAP has been the most colloquial directory service option, and is used in the two leading directory services: OpenLDAP and Microsoft’s Active Directory. Both solutions rely on on-premise implementation of the directory, which worked fine in decades past, but falls short in today’s cloud-based IT environment.

Indeed, as the world has shifted to cloud-based services, so too must the directory.

Delivering the directory as a cloud-based service is the next step in identity management. DaaS is a cloud-based directory service optimized to authenticate, authorize, and manage user access to IT resources across any device type, on any operating system, with any IT or Web-based applications located on-premise or in the cloud.

Breaking that statement down further, the key functions of DaaS are as follows:

  • Cloud-based – Directory-as-a-Service is a software implemented and hosted in the cloud – a next generation Identity-as-a-Service platform, if you will
  • Authentication – a central directory to validate a user’s credentials across devices and applications
  • Authorization – ensure that the right people have the right type of access
  • Management – control, manage, and execute tasks on devices
  • Cross-platform – works with the major device types and operating systems
  • Ubiquitous – support for on-premise and cloud-based systems / apps via multiple protocols such as LDAP, SAML, RADIUS, SSH, REST, and more.

As a simplified, yet more powerful and economical approach to a user directory, Directory-as-a-Service changes the game for IT admins. Organizations are struggling with the costs and management overhead of maintaining on-premise legacy identity and access management platforms in the face of increased IT complexity. These legacy solutions are losing out to new cloud-based Identity-as-a-Service alternatives that are streamlined, secure, and easy-to-use. Cloud directory service solutions support all major OS platforms and are designed to control and manage user access to both internal and external IT resources such as servers and applications. In short, a cloud-based directory makes it easier for admins to connect their employees to the IT resources they need, wherever it exists.

JumpCloud: Defining Directory-as-a-Service from the Start

If you would like to learn more about cloud-based DaaS, drop us a note. We’d be happy to discuss just how far directories have come since the days of the telcos. Or, feel free to try our cloud Identity-as-a-Service platform for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

Greg Keller

Greg is JumpCloud's Chief Product Officer, overseeing the product management team, product vision and go-to-market execution for the company's Directory-as-a-Service offering. The SaaS-based platform re-imagines Active Directory and LDAP for the cloud era, securely connecting and managing employees, their devices and IT applications.

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