By Rajat Bhargava Posted January 5, 2015
NetApp estimates there are 1,800 vendors in the SaaS marketplace. You might have thought the business solutions that were most connected to the IT guys (directory services) would have been the first to go to the cloud, but unfortunately this is not so. User directory services are one of the last business systems to be introduced to the cloud space. However, they are making major positive advancements for companies that choose to use them. These are often referred to as the cloud-based solution Directory-as-a-Service®, or Identity-as-a-Service platforms.
There are numerous benefits of a cloud-based solution, but perhaps the most significant one is that a cloud-based directory service enables organizations to leverage the latest trends in IT. For instance, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (AWS), Macs, Linux, G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps for Work), and Microsoft Office 365.
Directory services are often taken for granted, and the belief system around how they work has been ingrained over the past couple of decades. Historically, directories have been on-premises pieces of software. Microsoft Active Directory (AD) is the most common on-premises directory service with OpenLDAP being second. AD works with Windows systems and needs to be local to your network. Because of its widespread adoption and limited competitors, IT organizations haven’t really considered adopting anything different.
But this is no longer the case.
New cloud-hosted identity management solutions are being introduced as not only viable options but also better options for most businesses. Leading the charge are cloud-based directory solutions that meet complex and modern demands of business: diverse device use, mobile or remote employees, IaaS systems, and tight integration with major cloud platforms such as Microsoft Office 365 (O365) and Google Apps (GApps).
Let’s look at three reasons why a cloud-based solution is superior to AD.
1—Cloud-Based Solutions Serve Wide Areas
AD and OpenLDAP directories don’t function well in a wide-area environment. Not only can it be insecure, but it also ends up being a networking struggle to direct connect everything together. A LAN is a better fit for these directories.
2—Cloud-Based Directories Handle Internet Security Better
Exposing the directory to the Internet has historically been considered dangerous. AD and OpenLDAP haven’t built the requisite security into their solutions because they haven’t historically been placed on the Internet directly. You may think that’s a circular argument but it’s one that IT admins take seriously.
3—Cloud-Based Directories Serve as a Liaison Between On-Premise and Cloud-Solutions
Third, directories are focused on authenticating and authorizing machines and applications that are on-premise. A Windows file server looks for the local Active Directory server and domain controller. But what about cloud applications and cloud infrastructure? Those have no “local” directory to authenticate against. A cloud-based directory solves that issue.
4—Historically no Cloud-based Directory
Finally, there haven’t been cloud-based directories to leverage!
This is why so many companies are excited by the (very long in the making) advancement of directory services.
JumpCloud is the world’s first cloud directory service, built by some of the finest engineers in the tech-hub, Boulder, Colorado.
JumpCloud created the Directory-as-a-Service solution to be a cross-platform directory service that connects and manages users and their devices, IT applications, and networks regardless of location or type. This represents a huge advancement in both the functionality and application of a directory to the core functions of a business. Already, JumpCloud’s early adopters see its incredible power for IT.
For instance, IT organizations can now shift their directory to the cloud earlier in their overall move to the cloud. Their cloud-based directory enables IT admins to manage and control infrastructure and applications that are hosted in the cloud. For example, instead of creating separate user management for your Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) infrastructure, you can now control it from the start. IT applications like Github and Atlassian solutions can be connected back to your core directory, all via the cloud.
Even though it was late to the scene, directory services shouldn’t be the last cloud-system businesses adopt. Rather, it should be the first, setting the stage for a fully integrated and communicative cloud-based business infrastructure.
Learn More About Cloud-Based Solution Offerings From JumpCloud®
To learn more about the powerful reasons to move your directory to the cloud, contact us today. Additionally, feel free to sign-up for our innovative cloud directory platform, where your first 10 users are free forever.