By Jon Griffin Posted November 29, 2017
Authentication services are a core part of any IT environment. Enabling end users to access the IT resources they need in a secure manner is one of the bedrock responsibilities of IT. Whether that means applications, data, networks, systems, or other IT resources, tightly controlling access is central to any IT strategy. But with the rise in popularity of cloud resources, that task has started to become more of a challenge. This change has left many admins wondering if a virtual authentication process is possible.
Birth of Authentication Services
Authentication services rose to prominence with the advent of the interconnected network. Our advisor, Tim Howes, and his colleagues from the University of Michigan created the LDAP protocol, which kicked off the modern era of identity and access management. From there, two on-prem solutions emerged: the open source OpenLDAP™ and the commercial solution Microsoft Active Directory®. OpenLDAP would go on to become the most popular open source solution, and AD would go on to become the dominant commercial identity provider.
These two solutions have been stalwarts of IT for almost two decades now. But the longer time goes on, the more they are beginning to show their age. These tools were built with on-prem environments in mind, and these new cloud solutions are creating problems for them. While not impossible to overcome, it has become clear that the further into the cloud world we move, the more workarounds and additional solutions will be required for these legacy solutions to keep up. Plus, when you consider that Microsoft’s solution only focuses on supporting other Microsoft solutions, it’s easy to see how limiting it can be. This is not an ideal scenario for admins, and it’s clear to see that these reasons are driving organizations to look for a new solution.
Moving to Virtual Authentication
With the shift to the cloud, one thought that IT organizations are having is to search for ways to virtualize their authentication services. This means that companies are looking for a cloud-based identity provider. The good news is that this type of solution is possible.
The common IT infrastructure of today is made up of cloud servers, web applications, cloud and on-prem storage systems, multi-platform environments (Mac, Windows, Linux), WiFi networks, and much more. The idea of a platform or protocol specific identity provider like Microsoft AD just doesn’t make sense. IT environments are location independent, multi-protocol, cross platform, and provider agnostic. Their virtual authentication platform should accommodate for that too.
Try Virtual Authentication Yourself
Authentication services, whether virtual or on-prem, are a 100% uptime solution which require a tremendous amount of effort to maintain. By leveraging a third party platform, IT admins can shift the burden over to a provider that specializes in virtual authentication. This enables IT organizations to save time, money, and resources.
The modern cloud identity management solution Directory-as-a-Service® is enabling virtual authentication services via a multitude of protocols including LDAP, RADIUS, SAML, and REST, in order to provide native authentication for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems – along with a host of other IT resources, from networks, to apps, and infrastructure. It is a cloud-based directory that is built for the modern IT environment. If you would like to try this innovative virtual authentication solution out for yourself, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a free account of the DaaS platform. Your first 10 users are free forever, with no credit card required, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot. Then, you can test out the cloud authentication for yourself so you can see how it works in your own environment. Try it out today!