By Vince Lujan Posted April 26, 2018
Is there a simple cloud identity management solution available? It would definitely be a breath of fresh air for IT administrators drowning in the sea of complexity that is modern identity management. Fortunately, a next generation identity and access management (IAM) solution has come to market with a simple cloud identity management approach. Before we reveal what that solution is, however, let’s talk about the identity management category as a whole.
Identity Management 101: Introduction
The essence of identity management is the ability to securely manage and connect users to the IT resources they need. These IT resources can include systems, applications, files, and networks, to name a few of the most common examples. Regardless of what the IT resources are, it is critical for admins to ensure that only the correct people have access at any given moment. One of the best ways to manage user access to IT resources is with an identity management platform.
Identity Management 201: Active Directory
Perhaps the most notable identity management platform is Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). Brought to market in 1999, Active Directory was created as an on-prem identity management platform for on-prem IT resources that were based on Microsoft Windows®. Given the dominance of the Windows OS, especially around the turn of the century, AD quickly became the core identity management platform in most organizations.
Identity Management 301: Challenges
Active Directory has remained the default identity management platform in IT organizations for nearly two decades. Yet, for better or worse, Windows is no longer the default operating system for IT resources. In fact, Mac® laptops and desktops, Linux® servers and endpoints, web applications like G Suite™, cloud infrastructure at AWS®, and plenty more have shifted away from a Microsoft foundation. Remember that AD was developed strictly for managing on-prem Windows-based IT resources. As a result, anything that falls outside of the on-prem Microsoft ecosystem might as well be impossible to manage with AD alone. This, of course, is where identity management got a whole lot more complicated.
Identity Management 401: Mitigating Challenges
All of the changes in the IT landscape put tremendous pressure on traditional identity management solutions. Over the years, numerous solutions and categories have emerged in an attempt to mitigate various identity management challenges. Single sign-on (SSO) solutions for web applications are an easy example, which are still common directory extensions in use today.
Directory extensions such as these are effectively AD patches, which serve to federate user identities to IT resources that are not natively supported by Microsoft. There are a wide variety of AD patches available to suit many identity management needs. However, while they can enable IT to administer most of their IT resources with AD at the core, it comes at the expense of simplicity. Admins will have to juggle multiple cloud identity management solutions with this approach and still need AD on-prem. Over time, this complexity will impact security, productivity, and costs.
The good news is that IT organizations can and should implement a more streamlined approach to managing user access. Of course, one of the key requirements is to find a solution delivered from the cloud, for the cloud, but that also works for on-prem IT resources. This solution comes in the form of a simple, yet comprehensive cloud identity management platform called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.
Cloud Identity Management 101: JumpCloud
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is a next generation identity management platform that securely manages and connects users to their systems, applications, files, and networks. As a SaaS solution, the JumpCloud platform achieves this without anything on-prem, and works regardless of the platform, provider, protocol, or location of an organization’s IT resources. This enables IT to implement a single platform that can provide a simple cloud identity management approach throughout the organization. In doing so, IT admins can not only eliminate their entire on-prem identity management infrastructure, but they are also free to leverage the best IT resources for their organization, without having their hand forced by antiquated solutions and their many limitations.