User Management Defined

By Zach DeMeyer Posted August 30, 2018

In this day and age, the number of IT resources and tools used by the average employee is constantly growing. In 2017 alone, the typical enterprise used 1,427 distinct cloud services and the average employee actively used 36 cloud services daily. Also, keep in mind there’s a spread of on-prem resources in use as well (SkyHigh). It’s clear that IT admins have their hands full managing all of these resources. Without a clear definition of user management, IT organizations are destined for a real headache.

What is User Management?

User Management

User management is, in essence, enabling an enterprise’s employees with the necessary access to necessary IT resources. These resources could range anywhere from systems, networks, file servers, and/or web applications. Ultimately, user management is the frontline of enterprise cyber security, in that it makes sure that only the right people are accessing the correct resources. User management is a fundamental function of the directory service, the multi-tool of the IT admin’s toolbox.

User Management Through the Years

User management history

Historically, user management was based on-prem, most often manifesting in the legacy directory service, Microsoft® Active Directory®. With a majority of IT resources at the time being based in Windows®, user management with AD was a fairly painless task. As the world migrated to the cloud, however, user management was no longer quite as clear-cut as it once was.

Software-as-a-Service (or SaaS) applications started hitting the scene with tools like Salesforce. Soon after, almost all of the resources that were on-prem could be leveraged in the cloud, making them usable by practically everyone, everywhere. Proper user management requires that all of these resources be authenticated to maintain security. On-prem Active Directory, however, struggled to connect user identities to resources in the cloud because it simply wasn’t created to do so (the concept of cloud resources was nascent when AD was released). MAD was built with the focus on supporting on-prem Windows-centric IT resources, and it slowly became clear that it wasn’t going to stray from that model anytime soon.

Vendors in the user management market started to develop new solutions called single sign-on (SSO) softwares to bridge the gap between AD and web-based applications in the cloud. While these SSO solutions were ideal for some of the new resources up in the cloud, they failed at providing access to on-prem resources and couldn’t be leveraged by up and coming platforms like Mac® and Linux®. It was apparent that AD was falling short of the ideal definition of user management.

Definition of User Management for the Modern Era

Learn more about JumpCloud

Enter JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS). JumpCloud is a cloud directory service, meaning it is the ideal definition of user management for the modern era. JumpCloud can federate user access to IT resources, regardless of location, platform, protocol, or provider. By leveraging LDAP, SAML, and RADIUS, JumpCloud is created to be the paragon of user management: One Identity to Rule Them All®.

To explore how JumpCloud can act as the definition of user management for your organization, you can contact us to learn more. Our expert support team can answer any questions you might have. To see the Directory-as-a-Service platform first hand, feel free to schedule a demo. You can also try DaaS for yourself by signing up for free, which includes your first 10 users on the house.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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