Identity Management Category Identity-as-a-Service

Written by Vince Lujan on April 3, 2018

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The modern identity management space is complex. There are any number of different categories – including directory services, web application single sign-on (SSO), privileged identity management, password management, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and plenty more where that came from. As the cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions have emerged, one category that has historically lain dormant has recently become active. In this post, we discuss the identity management category: Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS).

Origins of IDaaS

Like most of the identity management category, the Identity-as-a-Service space has morphed over the years. Initially, the identity management market was really just about Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). Why? Historically, IT networks have been Windows® based and hosted on-prem. The simplicity of this approach meant that IT admins just needed to implement AD, and then close the book on their identity and access management (IAM) story.

However, everything changed when web applications appeared on the market in the mid-2000s. These were hosted on the web and were non-Windows based. Consequently, AD couldn’t handle connecting users to these new web-based IT resources. As a result, a new generation of identity management solution emerged – web app SSO. Of course, web app SSO was really just the first example of an entire category of solutions that would eventually be called Identity-as-a-Service.

IDaaS solutions have since become quite popular. Interestingly, despite the name, first generation IDaaS solutions didn’t actually host the identity. In fact, identities remained with Active Directory in most cases. Nevertheless, IDaaS solutions were able to provide a pathway for IT admins to extend on-prem identities to the cloud and more. The fact that they extended identities ‘as a service’ was really where the name came from.

The IDaaS approach with AD on-prem was certainly helpful for IT organizations (for a while), but this approach started to break down as IT infrastructure changed even more. The shift to cloud infrastructure such as AWS® and Google Cloud Platform as well as the move to Mac® and Linux® devices were at the tip of the spear. File storage also was in flux as IT organizations moved to the cloud and more cost-effective Samba file servers and NAS appliances. Even networks shifted from wired to wireless.

Active Directory fails in the cloud

All of these changes meant that the Active Directory and web app SSO combo wasn’t enough. The result was the emergence of a new generation of Identity-as-a-Service platforms that could help to create a more comprehensive cloud directory that included user management, system management, True SSO, cloud LDAP, web based RADIUS authentication, multi-factor authentication, and other critical features within identity management. In other words, the result was JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Next Generation Identity-as-a-Service


JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is a next generation cloud identity management platform that securely manages users and their access to their systems, applications, files, and networks. The core user identity forms the foundation for our Identity-as-a-Service platform, which can subsequently be federated to virtually any IT resource – regardless of platform, provider, protocol, or placement.

The best part is the JumpCloud platform empowers IT admins with centralized management that spans the breadth of modern IT networks. Add to that, the fact that JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service achieves all of this without anything on-prem, and it’s easy to see how the JumpCloud approach can be highly advantageous.

Learn More about the Identity Management Category: Identity-as-a-Service

If you are still having doubts, why not check out our whiteboard presentation above, or see what our customers have to say about their experience with JumpCloud. You can also contact JumpCloud or schedule a demo to answer any questions. If you’re ready to pull the trigger, sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account today. Your first ten users are free forever, and we don’t ever require a credit card to sign up. We can’t wait to show you to the future of the identity management category: Identity-as-a-Service.

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