Next Generation Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS)

Written by Vince Lujan on December 18, 2017

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Updated on February 24, 2021

IT admins often wonder what next generation Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) will look like. The answer is complicated by the fact that Identity-as-a-Service has come to mean different things to different people as more IT resources shift to the cloud. It used to be that the term IDaaS was limited to describing web application Single Sign-On (SSO) providers that offered identity management solutions from the cloud. The modern interpretation has expanded to include far more than just web-app SSO.

But before we explain what next generation Identity-as-a-Service means, it’s important to first outline the origins of the term. From there, we can speculate on what the next generation of IDaaS will look like – including some of the emerging solutions available today.

The Origin of Identity-as-a-Service

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The term Identity-as-a-Service first appeared in the mid-2000’s as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications like Salesforce were just beginning to gain a foothold in the IT market. At the time, the vast majority of the IT infrastructure in most organizations was still Windows-based, on-prem, and managed with Microsoft Active Directory® (AD).

AD was great at connecting on-prem user identities to Windows-based IT resources directly bound to the AD domain. The challenge was that SaaS apps didn’t work that way. They were not bound directly to the AD domain, nor were they on-prem, or even Windows-based in many cases.

In short, that meant that IT was unable to manage these new (at the time) cloud-based resources with AD alone. This limitation created an opportunity for web-application SSO providers to create solutions layered on top of AD that were designed to extend on-prem AD identities to the cloud – for a small fee, of course. Thus, the first generation of Identity-as-a-Service solutions was born.

Limitations of First Generation IDaaS Solutions

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First generation IDaaS solutions have been highly successful. However, the trouble with these types of add-on solutions in the modern enterprise is that the added management capabilities are effectively siloed to the respective resource they were designed to support.

The result is that IT often finds they need multiple add-ons to manage the wide array of cloud and on-prem resources they leverage on a daily basis. This approach adds a lot of complexity and management overhead as IT must now manage multiple add-ons in addition to managing AD.

Ideally, IT would be able to leverage a single IDaaS solution to connect users to virtually any IT resource. It would be cloud-based, accessible from anywhere, and not require an on-prem foundation to function.

The good news is that a next generation Identity-as-a-Service solution has emerged with the power to do just that. We call it JumpCloud Directory Platform, and it is changing the way IT organizations think about Identity-as-a-Service.

Next Generation IDaaS Solution: Cloud Directory Platforms

JumpCloud Directory Platform is a next generation IDaaS solution with the power to consolidate identity management for cloud-forward organizations in one comprehensive cloud-based solution. No more AD on-prem. No more piling third party add-ons on top of AD.

Instead, JumpCloud offers a comprehensive array of management capabilities for everything from the core virtual identity to managing devices (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux), web applications (Salesforce, Dropbox, Desk), cloud infrastructure (AWS, GCP, Azure), on-prem applications (Docker, Jenkins), NAS and Samba file servers (Synology, QNAP, FreeNAS), RADIUS authentication (wired, WiFi) – and there’s plenty more where that came from.

Learn More About Identity-as-a-Service


Contact a member of the JumpCloud team today if you are interested in learning more about the next generation of Identity-as-a-Service. You can also sign up for a cloud directory account and see for yourself. Your first ten users and ten devices are free to help you explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost for as long as you see fit.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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