Identity Provider in the Cloud

By Jon Griffin Posted May 3, 2018

Identity Provider in the Cloud

The concept of an identity provider in the cloud is one that is relatively new to the market. IT organizations have traditionally seen solely on-prem identity providers, but, as the IT market shifts to the cloud, a new generation of cloud directory services is appearing. This concept is innovative and can seem foreign to admins, but the reality is that there are many benefits to having an identity provider in the cloud. For example, studies show that businesses who take advantage of cloud services grow nearly 20% faster than those who don’t (SkyHigh Networks). That’s a pretty significant rate.

But, growth rate isn’t the only reason an identity provider in the cloud should be considered. There are a plethora of other reasons, and they all begin with the history of the identity provider.

History of the Identity Provider

old office

The identity provider market really came into fruition around twenty years ago with the introduction of Microsoft® Active Directory®. This directory service went on to become the leading market share owner in its respective space, dominating the back end of the office. This came as no surprise either, as Microsoft already owned the front end of the office as well. At its peak, Windows®-based solutions accounted for nearly 97% of computing devices (Forbes). Having another Microsoft product to support your Microsoft systems just made sense. However, we are far from the days of Microsoft’s peak.

Over the ensuing years, the IT landscape and the tools used within it have drastically changed. That 97% device market share that Microsoft once held? It’s only 20% now (Forbes). Windows machines today are often complemented with Mac® and Linux® systems as well. Systems aren’t the only change we’ve seen either. On-prem data centers have been replaced by AWS® and Google Cloud Platform. Web applications have become far more popular, with over 1400 cloud services in use at the average organization (SkyHigh Networks). File storage has moved away from Windows file servers to solutions like Samba file servers, NAS appliances, and cloud storage options like Box and Dropbox. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On-prem solutions like Active Directory, while comprehensive and effective in their prime, just weren’t built for the IT environment that we use today. These solutions are nearly two decades old, and have held on this long in large part because of the help of third-party solutions. However, the more solutions that move to the cloud, the more the on-prem directory has required help. Today, the identity provider requires multiple third-party solutions just to get by, which results in a much less secure and much more complex setup.

As a result, there is tremendous pressure on IT admins to figure out how to control user access to IT resources easier. What is the best way to ensure that your identity provider can not only handle the current IT environment, but the changes down the road as well?

Identity Provider in the Cloud

identity and access management

The answer is to have the identity provider in the cloud. With a next generation solution that features cloud identity management, all of the complexity and security risks of connecting on-prem solutions to the cloud go away. This solution goes by the name of JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®, and it is revolutionizing the way admins manage modern IT.

With JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, admins get seamless control over their entire environment, including systems (Mac, Windows, Linux), applications (via LDAP and SAML), physical and virtual file storage (e.g. Samba, NAS, Box, etc.), cloud and on-prem servers (AWS, GCP, Azure, and more), and WiFi or wired network connections (via RADIUS). This means that regardless of the platform, provider, protocol, or location of the solution, your organization can support and manage it.

95% of admins believe that software-defined infrastructure is the future of the data center, and enabling a modern approach to IT is a major factor in that belief. Fortunately, the next stage in that transition is here. Check it out by seeing an identity provider in the cloud for yourself. JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service offers 10 users free, with full access to the platform, that can be used to see how the solution works for you. In addition, there are also weekly webinars that help educate those curious on the cloud-based directory. Don’t get stuck in the on-prem world of the past. Contact us and see the future of IT first-hand.

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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