Identity Management in the Cloud

Written by Rajat Bhargava on March 18, 2015

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The identity management space has been a major sector for almost two decades now. Today, cloud-based identity management is the next wave of this space. In the 1990s, as organizations built client-server networks, the need for identity and access control emerged. With the introduction of the Internet, the requirements to manage user access have only increased. Today, a user may need access to tens or even hundreds of different devices, applications, and networks. For any reasonably sized organization, the task of managing identities is overwhelming.

On-Prem vs in the Cloud

On-prem vs. Cloud

Historically, organizations implemented on-premise directories to manage the connections between users, applications, and devices. Solutions such as Microsoft Active Directory® and OpenLDAP became the norm. Organizations would install and manage directory services themselves and depending upon what type of organization, devices, and applications they had, the company would choose between either AD or LDAP. If you were a Windows shop, you would choose AD. If you were more focused on Unix or Linux, then LDAP was your choice.

If you had a heterogeneous environment, you were generally out of luck. You would either need to implement both directory services or pick one and live with the less than ideal circumstances. Of course, the on-premise directories worked well if your device, applications, and networks were in the same facility.

As the cloud drove more devices and applications outside of the corporate walls, the existing user directory was marginalized. It was difficult to connect servers at AWS back to the on-premise AD server. Plus, SaaS-based applications didn’t always connect back to OpenLDAP. In many cases, they didn’t even talk LDAP.

Windows devices have given way to a more diverse device and operating system environment. macOS is growing quickly in small and large organizations. Linux is a mainstay in the data center these days. Mobile phones and tablets are just as important to business professionals as their desktop or laptop computers.

With all of these shifts in the organization’s infrastructure, the identity management system of yesterday is not the identity management for tomorrow. A new generation of cloud-based identity management solutions are emerging with Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS) leading the way. These are cloud native identity management systems that are built in the cloud, operate in the cloud, and are for the cloud. DaaS solutions can connect disparate IT resources together into one unified infrastructure, managed centrally from a Directory-as-a-Service console. Whether devices or applications are in the cloud or on-premise at a corporate office, a user can access all of these seamlessly, often through one set of credentials.

Learn More About Cloud Identity Management

Cloud Identity Management jumpcloud

A cloud-based identity management system can unify a company and enable it to take advantage of significant IT trends such as cloud and mobile. If you are looking to move faster as a business, but still stay under control and secure, leverage a cloud-based identity management system to help. JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service is connecting users to the IT resources they need whether in the cloud, on-premise, and OS agnostic. Feel free to give JumpCloud a try – 10 users are free forever. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about DaaS, please contact us and we would be happy to answer them.

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