Over 6 million organizations are leveraging G Suite™ (formerly Google Apps for Work) for their email and productivity solutions. These same organizations have shifted their on-premises email server—likely Microsoft® Exchange—to be served out of the cloud by Google. Popular apps such as Docs, Sheets, Drive, and more are a part of a user’s everyday workflow. For IT, the benefit is that there is very little that needs to be managed. What does need to be managed is who may access G Suite, which can be accomplished through G Suite Directory. The next question for an IT admin is whether G Suite Directory functions as an LDAP server.
Google LDAP Server?
The short answer is that it does not. What G Suite Directory can do is function as a contact database and an authentication service for Google’s cloud-based services. G Suite Directory, however, is not a directory service in the context that IT has come to know since it does not function as an identity provider for most systems, applications, and networks. Devices that are on-premises (such as Windows®, Linux®, and Macs®) and cloud-based servers may not be authenticated through G Suite Directory. Neither is there access to the WiFi infrastructure. And, lastly, G Suite Directory does not connect with LDAP-based applications and devices without assistance.
Why is LDAP Important?
To review, LDAP is a core authentication protocol leveraged by many devices and applications. An acronym that stands for the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, LDAP was invented in the early 1990s as a way to connect users to IT resources. Since then, open source OpenLDAP™ has become a standard in the industry, a well-known and commonly used on-premises directory service. The LDAP protocol is most often used with more technical solutions such as Linux and Linux-based applications.
Connecting Google Apps Identities with LDAP Critical
When IT admins are thinking about an Identity-as-a-Service platform to go with their cloud-based G Suite infrastructure, authenticating applications and devices via LDAP is a critical need. As discussed, Google’s directory service doesn’t provide this functionality. G Suite Directory does leverage OAuth and SAML as authentication protocols for cloud applications. Unfortunately these protocols come up short when it comes to connecting users to all of the IT resources they need including systems, on-premises applications, and WiFi networks.
If you are searching for a way to connect your Google identities with an LDAP service, take a look at Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS). With DaaS, your users can utilize the same Google identities with G Suite, their devices, LDAP-based applications, cloud applications, and your WiFi network. Directory-as-a-Service becomes the central cloud-based identity provider, connecting users to whatever they need. Having an LDAP-as-a-Service function is a critical component of the Identity-as-a-Service platform known as DaaS.