Google IDaaS vs. Okta

Written by Natalie Bluhm on October 30, 2017

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Google’s been making some moves in the identity and access management space. Recently with their acquisition of Bitium, IT admins are wondering what their intentions are in the IAM space. Will it be Google IDaaS vs Okta for the web application single sign-on space?

Let’s step back and walk through how Google got to their identity management services strategy.

Identity Management began with LDAP

Identity Management Cloud Modern

On the IAM side, the modern era of identity management started with the advent of LDAP. LDAP spawned two critical solutions: OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft Active Directory®. These solutions assumed that the IT infrastructure was on-prem and largely based on Microsoft Windows.

As web applications and cloud infrastructure were introduced, the core, on-prem identity provider started to struggle. Google introduced Google Apps to shift the email platform (Microsoft Exchange) to the cloud along with productivity applications. Now, IT admins had one foot in the cloud with G Suite and one on-prem with Active Directory.

So, while Google wasn’t about to be a replacement to Active Directory, they started providing user management services for G Suite, Google Cloud Platform, and a few, select web applications. In the meantime, Okta introduced the concept of first generation IDaaS or web application single sign-on. Okta would enable leveraging on-prem Active Directory credentials as well.

Is Google IDaaS a Comprehensive Alternative to Okta?

G Suite Google Identity Management Challenges

With the acquisition of Bitium, is Google IDaaS a comprehensive alternative to Okta? Yes and no. Bitium stands up as an alternative to Okta in the SSO space. But SSO with either Okta or Bitium ultimately falls short of providing the user with a single, unified set of credentials to gain access to all of their IT resources.

The root of this challenge is bigger than Okta vs. Google IDaaS and Bititum. At its core, the difficulty is still that Google Cloud Identity is not an alternative to Active Directory. Acquiring Bitium doesn’t change the fact that Google IDaaS doesn’t offer management for on-prem resources like systems and networks. Bitium’s main focus has been SSO for web-based applications, so they also lack the ability to fully manage on-prem resources in the manner IT admins are used to with Active Directory.     

Integrate Google IDaaS with a Cloud-based AD Alternative

G Suite JumpCloud Integration

For organizations that are looking for a centralized cloud identity management platform to be the replacement to Active Directory in the cloud, there is a third party solution that seamlessly integrates with both Google IDaaS and Okta. Called Directory-as-a-Service®, this modern cloud directory service eliminates the need for AD and federates identities to either web application single sign-on platform. In addition to connecting users to web-based applications, this cloud alternative to Active Directory provides a single solution to manage authorization and authentication to Mac, Linux, and Windows systems, on-prem and remote servers, legacy applications, wired and WiFi networks, and physical and virtual storage.

Learn more about Directory-as-a-Service

Not convinced you can really replace Active Directory? Consider reading Ace Payroll’s case study or Patch of Land’s customer story to find out how they’ve secured and optimized their modern IT environment by replacing Active Directory. For more information on our integration with Google Cloud Identity, G Suite, and Google Cloud Platform, consider watching the video below, or contacting us with any questions you might have. If you’re ready to get hands on with our cloud identity provider, sign up for a free account. All of our features are available and your first ten users are free forever.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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