Cloud Identity

Written by Brandon White on October 9, 2020

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In today’s IT environments, mapping user access to the right resources is a challenge for even the most skilled administrators. Before the move to cloud services, a trend whose impact we’re still feeling in IT, OpenLDAP and Microsoft Active Directory were the only identity systems that an IT department needed to manage. 

A company’s essential services were installed on a local server, and a user only needed one set of credentials to access their resources. As cloud services became a trend, companies began to add other user management systems for their employees to gain access.

If a company’s CRM tool were hosted in the cloud, it would require an entirely separate login management system that wasn’t connected to OpenLDAP or Active Directory, and that lacked visibility into the on-premises directory system. A unified cloud identity for each user is crucial today — here’s how to make it happen.

Shadow IT

One of the benefits of cloud services is how easy they are to deploy. If, for example, the marketing team wants to use for project management, all they have to do is enter a credit card and manually add their team.

If the engineering team wants to communicate over Slack, they can sign up and onboard their team without IT. When departments deploy their own set of tools without involving the IT department, it’s known as ”shadow IT.”

Even though many of the tools a department might deploy are perfectly safe, an inadvertent consequence can be a scattering of a company’s user identities into multiple systems. If there are only a handful of people, this situation might not seem that bad, but as a department / organization grows, a lack of cohesion becomes untenable for the members of the department and IT as well.

A Cloud Identity

What’s needed in today’s environment is a cloud identity. A cloud identity allows users to access any of the digital tools offered by a company regardless of whether it’s an on-prem application or instead a software as a service (SaaS) tool. This identity is set up by an IT organization and resides in a cloud directory platform that can quickly scale to a vast library of applications and services.

A cloud directory platform is not just for allowing access to web services — it can extend to most every part of an IT management stack. A cloud directory platform can also connect to Active Directory to allow access to on-prem Windows Servers, and can also connect to a RADIUS server to allow access to a secure Wi-Fi network. The same set of login credentials that an employee can use for the corporate Wi-Fi network can then extend for authentication to a hosted file sharing tool, to company accounting software, or to a social media management platform — the possibilities are endless.

Onboarding and Management

A cloud identity tool will bring several key benefits to an organization. When new employees are hired, a cloud identity platform will simplify the onboarding process of getting employees set up in all the company applications. When employees leave an organization, the platform will ensure that their access is removed to all company resources.

Without a proper cloud identity management tool, a human resources department will have a long process of off-boarding employees when they leave to ensure all security protocols have been met.

A cloud directory platform is an employee’s digital footprint for everything from on-premises tools to cloud services. When implemented in an organization, the benefits will be an easier management process, increased security, and increased compliance. Try JumpCloud Free with up to 10 users, 10 systems, and 10 days of Premium in-app chat support

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