Using IDaaS To Improve Security

Written by Kayla Coco-Stotts on March 10, 2020

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Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) provides IT teams with a cloud-based toolset necessary for authenticating user access to a variety of resources employed by modern organizations today. 

Previously used to federate an existing user identity to only web applications, next-generation IDaaS seeks to authenticate users to all the resources they need. Along with the authentication tasks next-gen IDaaS aims for, it works to ensure that organizations improve their security posture by providing users with one authoritative, secure identity to access their resources.

What is IDaaS?

Originally, Identity-as-a-Service (IDaas) describes an authentication solution that federates identities to web-based applications. It began with first-generation IDaaS, which worked in conjunction with a directory service (namely Microsoft® Active Directory®) to deliver a web application single sign-on (SSO) experience. 

Then came next-generation IDaaS, which has evolved to introduce the concept of True Single Sign-On™ (True SSO). That is, a single identity that works for virtually all modern systems, applications, networks, and files. The ultimate goal of next-gen IDaaS is to make sure people are who they say they are, and that those people have access to the right applications, networks, and systems, regardless of whether those resources are cloud-based or on-prem. 

How Does IDaaS Improve Security?

According to a 2019 SkyHigh Networks report, the average enterprise utilizes 1,400 cloud-based applications, and the average person uses 36 cloud-based services every day. When IT teams are unable to monitor all of their web applications, cyber security threats like shadow IT can creep in. 

Next-gen IDaaS secures organizations through a number of methods, namely True SSO. 

What is True SSO?

Through one authoritative identity, users gain access to the resources they need while IT departments easily provision and deprovision users to those assets. Utilizing True SSO in organizations makes the process of linking users to their applications more secure, and IT admins are able to monitor their access closely. 

Multi-Factor Authentication and Password Requirements

Beyond offering True SSO, next-generation IDaaS improves security through password requirements, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and SSH keys. Password requirements allow admins to force their users to employ credentials that can’t be easily guessed/ascertained by bad actors. Additionally, MFA requires users to combine something they know (typically their password) with something they have (such as a time-based one-time password (TOTP) token). 

The #1 attack vector to any corporation is compromised credentials. Next-gen IDaaS seeks to protect organizations against this attack vector by ensuring user credentials are both complex and secured through MFA and password requirements. 

SSH Keys

SSH keys use the Secure Shell protocol to increase security for both on-prem and cloud-based servers. Delivered in pairs, both the public and private SSH keys ensure that only people who possess user key sets may gain access to internal infrastructure. As such, IT teams know only the right users are accessing the correct resources.

Overall, next-generation IDaaS provides organizations with the opportunity to authenticate a singular identity to their assets, regardless if those are stored on-prem or in the cloud. This ultimately creates a more centralized, secure foundation for IT teams to build their infrastructure on, and through True SSO, users can gain access to everything they need to Make Work Happen™. 

Learn More

IDaaS has evolved beyond just SSO for web applications. It now provides IT departments with the opportunity to improve both security and usability within their enterprises. As IT infrastructure continues to shift in favor of cloud-based software, it’s vital that all applications, systems, and networks be secured with the help of next-gen IDaaS tools that deliver True SSO, SSH keys, and MFA.

To learn more about using IDaaS to improve security, you can reach out with any questions you may have.

Kayla Coco-Stotts

Kayla is a content writer at JumpCloud with a B.A. in Print Journalism from the University of Kentucky. She hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and loves to eat good food and hike Boulder's beautiful trails when she is not writing.

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