The Fabric of the Network – Directory Services

Written by Rajat Bhargava on September 11, 2015

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Many companies and products talk about their solutions being the fabric of a network. But when we think of the fabric of a modern organization, we think about the directory.

The directory functions as the central store of identities. It’s what controls access to key network resources, We tend to believe that directory services are the most important piece of technology in any company.

What about the the physical network itself?

Fair enough. It’s hard not to argue that the backbone of any IT infrastructure is the network itself – the wireless access points, the switches, routers, and cables that provide the connectivity.

But, after the physical network, what’s the next most important technical component in the infrastructure? We’d argue it is the ability to control access to everything on the network.

Directory as the Fabric of the Network

Without that access control, how does the network operate? At its core, networks must allow the right access to the right IT resources. This has to be driven at a network level, device level, application, and data level. Further, it may need to be even more granular with specific levels of access within each level. This fine grained control can get much more complicated and difficult to implement.

Controlling who has access to what is fundamental in a network.

  • There is confidential data that needs to be presented to only the right people.
  • There are cost implications of users having access to applications and infrastructure.
  • There is security and control where personnel without the right experience or knowledge should not have access.
  • Compliance requirements can also dictate who should have access as well.

This access control is fundamentally embedded into a network through a wide variety of solutions. In fact, just about every technical solution will have its own control over who can access its resources – in a sense their own directory.

A tangled web…

The trick is how to weave all of those different access control rights into one central system that becomes the ‘fabric’ of the network. But this is an essential part of a user’s access and use of the network. What they can access is part and parcel with who they are – their individual role, group they are a part of, and any special requirements that individual has.

The Search for a Modern, Authoritative Directory

Obviously, IT admins want to centrally control this so that they aren’t building one-off user directories and instead are creating a unified, authoritative directory service.

All IT resources connect to the directory service – including cloud infrastructure, Web applications, on-premises devices and apps. Of course, all users are a part of it as well. Those connections are made at the directory services level rather than individual access being granted at the individual IT resource level.

The benefits of building a central directory service infrastructure for all of a modern organization’s IT resources is enormous. It provides a security layer just above the physical layers of security and visibility over access.

IT admins can more easily and efficiently control their network. And, for those that are subject to compliance, there is a central database to build compliance around.

Strengthen the Fabric of Your Network with DaaS

Any modern network should build a core directory services layer. It’s an important part of building out the IT infrastructure.

Modern organizations are leveraging Directory-as-a-Service solutions to build this layer of the fabric. If you’d like to learn more about Directory-as-a-Service, drop us a note or give it a try for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

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