Identity Management as a Service

Written by Greg Keller on January 15, 2016

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The delivery of IT functions ‘as-a-Service’ has been revolutionizing the IT industry since the early 2000s. What did such a transformation entail? The ‘as-a-Service’ provider took on the responsibility for delivery of the functions, updates, maintenance issues, and any enhancements of that specific function. In short, the vendor was now in charge of delivering the whole function to you on an ongoing basis.

Over the past decade, this model has taken the IT sector by storm. Just about everything you can imagine has been turned into a service. However, in the rush to move everything to ‘as-a-Service’, one area was conspicuously missing: identity management. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how identity management as a service is taking off and what industry changes were put in place to make this happen.

Characteristics of Identity Management

Identity management as a service, which is often called Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS), is the delivery of connecting users to the IT resources they need. IDaaS enables your users to access whatever systems, applications, and networks that they need to perform their jobs. These IT resources could be on-premises or hosted in the cloud. They could span from desktops to cloud servers or from on-premises legacy applications to modern, web-based applications, and everything in between.

The benefit of IDaaS to IT is that they can continue to move everything to the cloud, and they are able to take advantage of every necessary resource. This means that IT has the flexibility to leverage a wide array of IT resources instead of just on-premises systems and applications. IT and the stakeholders can choose whatever IT resources are best for them, knowing that they will be supported by their Identity-as-a-Service platform.

Directory-as-a-Service Was Well Worth the Wait

A fair question to ask is, why did it take so long for identity management as a service platforms, such as Directory-as-a-Service, to make the leap to the cloud? There are a few key reasons. First, there has been a true explosion of cloud consumption during the past few year. Prior to this, most IT resources were hosted on-premises. Machines and servers were located on-premises or in collocated data centers, and applications were hosted internally.

With the advent of Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, key parts of an IT infrastructure made the leap to the cloud. Once those components made the move to the cloud, so did many others. Today, just about every type of application an organization needs is hosted in the cloud, while AWS, Azure, or Google Compute Engine provides their cloud-based server infrastructure. Second, it has taken a while to shift to Identity-as-a-Service platforms due to security.

IT admins have been reluctant to shift their core identities to the cloud. Their concerns have been centered around the risks that a security breach at the cloud provider level would have on them. As cloud identity management providers have invested heavily in security, IT organizations are realizing that their own security investments pale in comparison.

Finally, Identity-as-a-Service solutions have historically focused on only one part of the identity management stack – web single sign-on. Today, Directory-as-a-Service platforms are bringing True SSO to the market. A single set of credentials allows access to just about everything a user needs, whether the resources are on-premises or in the cloud.

Identity Management Solutions to Meet Your Needs

SaaS-based identity management solutions are here to stay and will be a key part of any IT infrastructure. With the ability to centralize user management and provide access to IT resources across a wide spectrum of IT resources, these solutions are way ahead of their on-premises counterparts.

If you would like to learn more about how Directory-as-a-Service is a leading identity management as a service solution, drop us a note. Or, feel free to give it a try for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

Greg Keller

JumpCloud CTO, Greg Keller is a career product visionary and executive management leader. With over two decades of product management, product marketing, and operations experience ranging from startups to global organizations, Greg excels in successful go-to-market execution.

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