By Natalie Bluhm Posted April 17, 2018
A new marketing term is being thrown about in the identity and access management space. To many IT admins it is unclear what this term means and what it covers. This new key term is called unified access management, and many can’t help but wonder how this will improve identity management in their environment. For instance, will it help to create unified access management for cloud servers?
Well, not all vendors offering unified access management are created equal. So, let’s take a look at what IT organizations would like unified access management to be.
An Ideal Unified Access Management Solution
While, the concept of unified access management can vary by analyst and vendor, IT admins have a distinct view of what they believe encompasses a unified access management solution. Simply put, IT organizations are looking for a cloud identity management platform that securely manages and connects user identities to the IT resources those users need, whether that means systems, applications, files, or networks. It must also be able to do it regardless of platform, provider, protocol, and location. In other words, IT organizations are looking for One Identity to Rule Them All®.
Unfortunately, that’s not the definition that many solutions are adopting for unified access management. Some vendors are really focused on web and on-prem applications. These first generation IDaaS platforms, or web app single sign-on tools, are now looking to include on-prem applications, and that’s what they define unified access management as.
While that is a worthy effort, it is not enough. Admins want unified access to mean access to all of the aforementioned resources, not just applications. Another core area of interest for IT admins and DevOps engineers is user management for cloud servers, such as those hosted at AWS® or Google Cloud Platform™. This is just another need that can’t be addressed with web app SSO. The ideal scenario is to leverage a user’s core identity not just for cloud server access, but access to everything else as well.
Challenges with Cloud Servers
Of course, historically, IT organizations have not been able to easily connect user identities to these cloud infrastructure components. IT admins have used a variety of different techniques – from leveraging OpenLDAP™, to scripting solutions such as Chef or Puppet to manually manage user access – but, these approaches leave a lot to be desired. Because they create siloed identities, pile on more components to manage, and can be very time intensive, they are far from the ideal solution.
Thus, the concept of a unified access management solution for cloud servers becomes very interesting to IT admins and DevOps engineers. One cloud identity management solution in particular, called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, leverages one identity to connect to a wide range of IT resources, including cloud servers hosted at AWS or GCP.
Unified access management doesn’t need to mean simply web and on-prem applications. A modern cloud identity management platform can cut across systems, applications, files, and networks, and include cloud servers as well.
Use JumpCloud for Unified Access Management for Cloud Servers
JumpCloud’s comprehensive approach enables IT to unify access to wired and WiFi networks, physical and virtual file storage, systems (Windows®, Mac®, and Linux®), on-prem and web-based apps, and local and cloud servers. When it comes to managing access to servers, IT organizations can rest easy knowing they have secure authentication methods in place like MFA and SSH keys. On top of that, when an employee leaves, IT admins can easily deprovision access to cloud servers and all other IT resources in a few clicks.
IT may gain a more efficient identity management system, but users experience tremendous gains as well. For example, with one set of credentials a DevOps engineer can access GitHub™, Docker®, Linux, Mac, and Windows machines, servers hosted in AWS or GCP, and their WiFi network. In the end, your engineers gain a frictionless workflow, and IT admins achieve a unified IT environment.
For more information, consider reading the Tamr case study. They were able to centralize access to about 300 cloud servers using JumpCloud. Ready to see the platform in action? Start leveraging unified access management for cloud servers by signing up for a free account. All of our features are available, and your first ten users are free forever. If you need any questions answered beforehand, please drop us a note.