By Vince Lujan Posted April 10, 2018
Web application single sign-on (SSO) solutions such as Okta® are quite popular now. In fact, these solutions – often called first generation Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) platforms – might be the most popular in the entire identity and access management (IAM) category. As a result, many IT admins are looking for comparisons and alternatives in the web app SSO space. Specifically, this blog post will focus on replacements to Okta, but we should outline the development of the SSO category first.
SSO and Okta
It’s interesting to walk back through history to understand why web application single sign-on solutions are even here today. At a high level, it is because web applications have become incredibly popular, but there are deeper reasons from an identity management perspective.
In the early 2000s, Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) quickly became the directory service of choice for virtually all organizations. This made a lot of sense because most networks were essentially comprised of Windows® based systems and applications. Microsoft wanted to help IT admins control access to these IT resources, which is why they created an entire ecosystem of Windows-based management tools.
Of course, there was another driver here. Microsoft understood that if they made it easy to manage Windows users and systems, IT shops would purchase more Windows systems and applications. This self-reinforcing strategy and approach worked well for a number of years.
However, web applications continued to make a tremendous amount of progress, and IT organizations needed to start connecting their users to these off-prem, non-Windows based IT resources. Active Directory didn’t make that easy, so IT admins went searching for solutions and found a thriving category of web application single sign-on solutions.
These first generation IDaaS products, led by Okta, were tightly integrated with Active Directory and, as a result, identities were extended to web applications via web app SSO platforms. This approach worked well for a period of time as well – as long as most of the infrastructure was Windows-based with the one exception of web applications. But then, the IT environment morphed again.
Organizations Move Away from Microsoft
The second wave of change began when system environments expanded to include Mac® and Linux®. Shortly after, data centers shifted to the cloud via AWS® or Google Cloud Platform™ (GCP). File servers were delivered from the cloud after that (Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), or were delivered as Samba file servers or NAS appliances. These are just a few examples, but the challenge quickly became that there were too many types of resources for AD and a web app SSO platform to be able to connect to.
Instead of continuing to add on more identity management tools, IT admins started to take the approach of looking for replacements to Okta and Active Directory. In short, they were searching for a reimagination of the identity and access management approach. That new era is a cloud identity management platform called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.
True SSO with JumpCloud
The JumpCloud platform integrates the web application SSO functionality along with securely managing and connecting users to systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux), web and legacy applications, cloud or on-prem files, and wired and WiFi networks – all from one cloud directory platform. In doing so, IT organizations can not only eliminate third-party add-ons like Okta, but also their entire on-prem identity management infrastructure in favor of a comprehensive cloud-based directory services platform. The end result is that JumpCloud admins and users can enjoy a True Single Sign-On™ experience – one set of credentials to gain access to virtually any IT resource.
More Information About Okta Replacements
Contact the JumpCloud team or schedule a demo to learn more about replacements to Okta. You can also sign up for a free Directory-as-a-Service account to replace web app SSO solutions and Active Directory today. Your first 10 users are free forever, and you can explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost. Become the next JumpCloudian today!