Google Apps SSO

Written by Rajat Bhargava on December 23, 2015

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Google Apps is one of the leading email and productivity infrastructures available today. With over six million organizations and sixty million users, Google Apps is a core IT platform. Yet IT admins worldwide are in search of ways to use Google Apps logins as the set of single sign-on credentials which can be used with other IT resources, including systems, applications, and networks. Unfortunately, on its own Google Apps identities can only be used in a limited capacity. Ready for some good news? With the advent of next generation Directory-as-a-Service platforms, Google Apps identities can be leveraged with devices, cloud and legacy applications, and WiFi authentication.

Understanding What Google Apps is (And What it isn’t)

Google Apps directory is the user store that organizations leverage when using Google Apps. However, in the case of Google Apps, directory is somewhat of a misnomer. Google Apps directory functions more as a user store for Google applications. It also serves as the set of credentials for some other web applications. Originally intended as more of a contact database, Google Apps identities are commonly used, so extending their reach to other IT resources makes sense. It’s important to remember, though, that Google Apps does not function as a core directory service for organizations.

A core identity provider for an organization extends to many types of IT resources. These resources include systems such as Windows, Mac, or Linux laptops, desktops, and servers. Additionally, the IdP will connect users to applications, including those found both on-premises and in the cloud. Another key task of a directory service is to enable access to networks via WiFi or wired connections. A modern identity management platform will function as a True SSO solution.

IaaS Lends Google Apps a New Identity

Modern Identity-as-a-Service platforms have the ability to create SSO through Google Apps identities. Now, a user’s Google Apps credentials can be used to access their local device regardless of platform, cloud servers at AWS, on-premises applications such as Jira or Git, web applications, and the WiFi network through RADIUS. What’s the major benefit of this approach? With Google Apps in the cloud as a SaaS-based service, a modern cloud-based directory service can now match that same pattern as a cloud-based SaaS solution.

If you would like to learn more about how your user’s Google Apps identities can act as their single sign-on credentials, take a look at Directory-as-a-Service. With a tight integration with Google Apps, it can serve as your core directory service, thus avoiding the need to have on-premises software such as Microsoft Active Directory or OpenLDAP. Drop us a note if you have any questions or give it a try for yourself – your first 10 users are free forever.

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