Identity Access Control

Written by Greg Keller on January 28, 2016

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Identity access control is a critical market in the broader IT landscape. Since identities are the core mechanism used to grant access to IT resources, they are perhaps the most crucial digital asset within an organization. User identities are the most sought after by hackers since the right identity can provide them with the keys to the digital kingdom. Because of this, organizations are leveraging a wide variety of identity access control solutions to not only streamline user management, but as importantly to combat security risks.

The Cloud Obscures Identity Access Management

With today’s modern, cloud-forward networks, identity management has grown more complex. Historically, a user was granted a single identity that was leveraged to access just about every IT asset within the organization. In fact, when networks were strictly based on Microsoft Windows, one would simply log in to one’s own machine using personalized domain credentials thereby being granted access to all Microsoft services. Since fewer networks today are based on Microsoft exclusively, a single identity is not as transportable when housed by Microsoft Active Directory.

Legacy Directories Fall Short

Directory services, an integral part of the identity and access control market, are at the core of hosting and federating an identity. The goal for IT admins is to enable their users to log in with a single set of credentials to virtually all of their IT resources including their systems, applications, and networks. The challenge for directory services solutions is to support this behavior for multiple operating systems, cloud and on-premises applications, and a variety of authentication protocols. Legacy directories such as Microsoft Active Directory or OpenLDAP struggle in this cloud-centric environment.

A Modern Approach Is Stepping Up

A modern approach to identity access control is leveraged by Identity-as-a-Service solutions such as Directory-as-a-Service. This new type of cloud-based user management system can control access to a wide variety of IT resources that organizations are leveraging today. This includes Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, and cloud infrastructure hosted at AWS or Google Compute Engine among others. On-premises applications that often leverage LDAP as the authentication protocol are also supported. Web applications that utilize SAML are included in the single sign-on capabilities of the hosted directory service. And, controlling access to the WiFi network is an important part of the mission of a cloud identity provider.

Controlling user access to IT resources is a core part of an IT administrator’s duties. Identity access control solutions are the vehicle by which IT accomplishes their goal of user access. In today’s cloud-forward world, a cloud-based identity management platform is the solution of choice for high-performing organizations. If you would like to learn more about how Directory-as-a-Service can be helpful to your Identity-as-a-Service needs, drop us a note. We’d be happy to help. Or, feel free to give JumpCloud’s DaaS a try for yourself.

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