By Natalie Bluhm Posted August 14, 2017
Identity and access management (IAM) is a core category within the IT sector. For IT admins one of the most important pieces of their infrastructure is controlling who has access to what IT resources.
But IAM isn’t one simple, monolithic entity. The IAM market has been broken up into a number of sub-markets including directory services, directory extensions, privileged identity management, web application SSO, MFA, and others. IAM splintered into a number of different categories because of the unique problems that IT organizations were trying to solve.
Active Directory: an IAM Solution Popular in the Past
Despite all of the sub-categories, the most widely used IAM solution on the market has been Microsoft Active Directory® (AD). Active Directory was built in a time when IT resources were few, cloud infrastructure was on-prem, and IT environments were homogenous. These factors allowed for AD to be an effective IAM solution at the time.
However, the IT landscape has shifted away from being on-prem and Windows-based, and has forced the IAM sector to evolve as well. Today, IT infrastructure involves mixed platforms (Mac & Linux), cloud infrastructure such as AWS and Google Cloud, web applications such as Salesforce, GitHub, Slack, and many others, and WiFi. Even the economy has changed the type of workers and where they work.
Conventional IAM has become a Nightmare
In an attempt to maintain their monopoly, Microsoft resisted adapting Active Directory to work with the cloud. But in today’s reality, it is inevitable that IT will end up having users use some productivity tools in the cloud, and when that happens, IT will lose control over those cloud identities if they are running AD. Trying to connect an on-prem, legacy directory to the cloud is just the beginning of today’s IAM nightmare. A few cloud solutions have emerged, like Google IDaaS, but they haven’t been sophisticated enough to connect identities to on-prem components like endpoints.
The IAM problem has only gotten worse as organizations try to manage the explosion of new IT resources users need to get access to. So not only has IT lost control over their cloud identities, but now each end user has a different set of credentials for each cloud resource they access. This creates major vulnerabilities within an organization’s identity security, and with organizations constantly under siege from hackers, it’s easy to see how this is a massive problem.
Hosted Identity and Access Management
Hosted identity and access management is emerging as a viable option. This approach isn’t just a cloud washing of IAM, but rather a re-architecting of the IAM space. The leading hosted IAM solution, Directory-as-a-Service®, is collapsing the IAM stack to deliver one identity for users to connect to whatever IT resources they need. With our cloud identity and access management solution (CIAM), IT can now connect their users to Windows, Mac, and Linux systems; on-prem and cloud based apps; and cloud and on-prem networks and servers. Gaining one central identity for each user is just the beginning to securing your digital kingdom. Our hosted IAM solution offers several other identity security tools such as password complexity management, Multi-Factor Authentication, and True Single Sign-On™.
Interested in learning more about how a hosted IAM solution can bring back control in your IT environment? Reach out to us, and we’d love to have a conversation with you about our cloud identity management solution. Start testing Directory-as-a-Service by signing up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever.