By Natalie Bluhm Posted December 28, 2017
In the last year, hybrid cloud adoption grew from 19% to 57%, and this trend is likely to continue with 80% of IT budgets expected to be committed to cloud solutions in 2018 (Forbes). A key component to securely adopting a hybrid environment is an identity bridge. Also referred to as a directory extension, an outsourced identity bridge is an important solution for IT organizations that plan to adopt more cloud solutions.
So why is an identity bridge a key component in today’s cloud-forward IT world and why are organizations choosing to outsource this important component of their infrastructure?
IAM Market Produces the Identity Bridge
Stepping back, an identity bridge has really existed because of how the identity and access management market has evolved. When Microsoft introduced Active Directory®, it quickly became the identity provider of choice in the enterprise. This was because organizations at the time were Windows-based networks and virtually all IT resources existed on-prem. Active Directory offered pristine user and system management in this setup, so it’s not a surprise that Active Directory quickly monopolized the identity management space.
Unfortunately, any resource that wasn’t Microsoft-based, like Mac or Linux systems, were tedious and costly to manage in an Active Directory environment. So, for those few organizations that had Mac or Linux, they needed a way to bridge their identities from Active Directory to the Mac or Linux device. This would provide them with some control over the users who used these non-Windows devices and the devices themselves. Of course, they weren’t usually able to manage the Mac or Linux devices via GPOs, but user management was more critical to start anyway.
Legacy Identity Bridges Need to Evolve
Over time, as the IT landscape shifted away from Microsoft networks, IT admins needed to solve more problems than just connecting Active Directory to Mac and Linux devices. Now they had to worry about web applications, cloud infrastructure, WiFi access, and much more. Leveraging Active Directory only solved a small portion of the overall identity management problem, but some organizations aren’t completely ready to move their entire directory services to the cloud. That’s where our outsourced identity bridge comes in.
Outsourced Identity Bridge Extends AD Identities
This approach to a cloud identity bridge helps federate Active Directory identities to Mac and Linux machines, cloud servers at AWS or Google Cloud Platform, web applications, on-prem and cloud storage systems, and wireless access points. In short, IT organizations can continue to leverage Active Directory as their core identity provider, but extend it to virtually all of their non-Windows IT resources. Also, as an outsourced solution, the installation, configuration, and maintenance of the identity bridge is handled by the provider. This can end up saving IT organizations a significant amount in time and resources.
For more information, consider watching this AD Integration tutorial video that discusses the usage of our virtual identity bridge. You are also more than welcome to reach out to us if you would like to learn more about an outsourced identity bridge. We also invite you to start testing the identity bridge by signing up for a free account. You will have full access to all of our features, and your first ten users are free forever.