By Ryan Squires Posted October 9, 2018
Is there a viable identity provider (IdP) alternative in the IT market? Most IT admins know that the legacy on-prem Microsoft® Active Directory® (MAD or AD) has been the leading identity provider for nearly two decades now. But, with so many IT resources shifting to the cloud – while AD remains on-prem – is there anything comparable to Active Directory but delivered from the cloud?
A Challenge to AD
The short answer is yes. A next-generation cloud identity management solution has emerged to challenge the concepts pioneered by Active Directory. Called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®, this modern identity provider is challenging the core assumptions for a directory service. And no, it isn’t Azure®Active Directory. Azure AD is a source of truth for Azure identities and Office 365™ along with web apps. But, Azure AD is not a replacement for traditional Active Directory.
What a Modern Identity Provider Can Do
Cloud-based directory services like JumpCloud® are unlike on-prem AD in that the hassle of configuration and maintenance is handled by JumpCloud and not an IT admin. And, instead of operating like many Single Sign-On (SSO) providers (which only authenticate and authorize users to web-based apps), JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® supports virtually all systems, applications, files, and networks regardless of location, provider, protocol, or platform. No add-ons required like SSO solutions, identity bridges, MFA, and more. Further, each resource can be accessed via a single set of credentials. Below, the benefits of this service for users and admins will be outlined.
Cloud IdP for Users
For users, a key component of Directory-as-a-Service, called True Single Sign-On™, allows users a simplified authentication and authorization process to the things they use daily. For example, just one set of credentials either extended from AD or provisioned from G Suite™ or Office 365™ allows users to log in to their systems whether they’re Windows®, Mac®, or Linux®. It’s important that this functionality exists, because users self-reported that they’re more productive when they get to choose what technology they use. And, from those systems they’ll be able to access web applications (Salesforce®, DocuSign™, etc), legacy LDAP applications (OpenVPN™, Jira®), file servers both on-prem and in the cloud (NAS appliances, Samba file servers, Box™, and Dropbox services), cloud infrastructure (AWS®, Azure®, GCP™) and even wired and WiFi connections via RADIUS. Plus, remote users no longer have to worry about working with slow VPNs.
Benefits of Cloud IdP for Admins
For IT admins, leveraging LDAP-as-a-Service and RADIUS-as-a-Service components of Directory-as-a-Service frees up valuable time that would otherwise be devoted to configuring, maintaining, and securing LDAP and RADIUS servers. The time savings here are immense. Additionally, because these protocols are leveraged as a service, admins don’t need to worry about disaster recovery because that duty falls to JumpCloud as well. Further, when an IT admin’s users begin leveraging one set of credentials, that means that they’re no longer recycling passwords which can equate to greatly enhanced security. Clearly, moving to a cloud-based identity provider can save a lot of time and effort for both admins and users.
Get Ahead and Stay There
As the IT landscape continues to change, the legacy identity provider will continue to get challenged to securely connect users to an ever-expanding list of IT resources. Because your identity provider goes a long way in creating security in your organization, perhaps it’s time to consider how important identity security is to your organization.
Learn More About JumpCloud
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