Guide to Cloud Identity Management

Written by Greg Keller on April 5, 2017

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Identities have quietly become the most critical digital assets in the modern era. And whether management knows it or not (hint: they don’t), many of the most critical conversations they have with IT are really conversations about identities.

This blog post doesn’t just show you how the Identity and Access Management landscape is shifting, it will also show you how to shift along with it. There’s a brave new world of IAM and you can use it to your advantage to move your business forward even faster and more efficiently. It’s called cloud identity management and it is the next generation of IAM.

Overview of the New Categories of the Identity and Access Market

Identity and Access Management Pyramid

Historically the IAM market has been just Microsoft Active Directory®. AD was the core, authoritative user store for identities. Over time, many IT organizations added a plethora of other solutions on top of it, but Active Directory remained the centerpiece. AD was hardly a sexy topic to talk about and virtually every organization on the planet already had it. Unfortunately, Microsoft wasn’t too keen on enhancing it or adding significant capabilities, well, at least the capabilities that most innovative organizations were focused on. As a result, it was a hodgepodge of identity management solutions with AD at the center.

As the IT landscape started to shift towards a cloud-based, mixed-platform environment, IT organizations started to struggle even more. No longer was Active Directory serving the core of their IT resources. Web applications needed a different solution. Cloud servers and AWS were out of purview. And Mac and Linux devices were too difficult for AD. Consequently, IT organizations started thinking about a replacement to Active Directory.

Facing Challenges: Vulnerable Identities, Identity Sprawl, Legacy Systems

identity sprawl

Finding new solutions for IT resources that were covered by Active Directory wasn’t the only challenge with the historical path of IAM. Security was becoming a major issue, and the number one attack vector was to compromise identities. Rather than looking for a window to break through, the hacker would just swipe the person’s key. Once they had the key, they could walk through the front door and have full run of the house. That metaphor has been leveraged in some of the most significant hacks that have happened in the past decade. There is no doubt that IT admins are terrified of their identities being compromised.

Controlling that risk point presents a challenge since identities have sprawled to a large number of IT resources, many over which the IT organization has no control. That presents significant challenges to identity security. Next-generation cloud identity management platforms have been built with this new reality in mind. They are highly focused on integrating security capabilities into the core identity management approach through multi-factor authentication, SSH key management, and password complexity management. These approaches, along with many others, can help address the significant risk of an identity breach.

SaaS Identities, Better Security, True Single Sign-On™ & Other Solutions

A next-generation approach to identity management provides a number of benefits for IT organizations. Increased security, greater efficiency, and less friction for end users are some of the critical benefits. Modern cloud identity management platforms like Directory-as-a-Service® are replacing the on-prem identity provider, Active Directory, in an organization with a cloud identity management platform. The cloud directory is an integrated system that handles the following critical tasks and so much more:

JumpCloud® is Your Total Cloud Identity Management Solution

The next-generation cloud identity management platform eliminates the need for a number of solutions and relies on one cloud-hosted identity provider. This is possible because of a vendor-neutral approach that enables just about any IT resource to be connected to users and the cloud directory.

If you would like to learn more about how cloud identity management can support your organization, drop us a note. Alternatively, sign up for a free account and give JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service a try for yourself. Since your first 10 users are free forever, start today!

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