What Is Advanced Server Access?

By Vince Lujan Posted April 15, 2019

Privileged identity management privileged access management

Advanced Server Access is a new term in the identity and access management (IAM) world, but many aren’t sure exactly what it means. So, what is advanced server access, and why is it useful to organizations? Let’s take a closer look below.

Advanced Server Access Explained

Advanced server access is basically another fancy term for privileged access management (PAM), which is also referred to as privileged identity management (PIM). At any rate, privileged access management is a sub-category within the IAM space, and has been around for a long time. PAM is a directory extension to data center infrastructure and equipment such as servers. Historically, the PAM category has been built on top of the core identity provider (IdP), usually Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD).

The concept of PAM/PIM makes a great deal of sense for on-prem networks and data centers. Extending identities to more critical infrastructure often required a deeper level of access control and authentication requirements than what was being offered by legacy platforms like AD. PAM solutions emerged to satisfy this need and could be layered on top of AD to provide enhanced control and authentication security for privileged users such as administrators.

However, as the on-prem network and data center shifts to the cloud, PAM providers have been forced to rethink their strategy. IT admins may no longer need PAM functionality for on-prem networks and data centers. Yet, the need to secure access to cloud networks and data centers is greater than ever. So, many traditional PAM providers and vendors are shifting the focus of PAM solutions to cloud-based servers and infrastructure. Of course, vendors and analysts needed to differentiate this new approach from traditional PAM solutions. Hence, advanced server access is a new term in the IAM market.  

Why Use Advanced Server Access?

2 factor authentication

The concept of tightly controlling server access is more important than ever before. With AWS® at over a million business customers, and both Azure® and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) growing quickly as well, there is no doubt that controlling access to cloud infrastructure is critical.

Despite the shift to the cloud, however, the key challenge with Advanced Server Access solutions has remained the same: the core IdP. As previously noted, traditional PAM solutions (and now Advanced Server Access solutions) are typically layered on top of an on-prem implementation of Active Directory. This approach could make sense for organizations that are already heavily invested in on-prem AD. However, most organizations with cloud infrastructure don’t have any intention of keeping their identity management infrastructure on-prem or being limited to Windows-based IT resources. Further, on-prem AD implementations might not be accessible for smaller organizations and startups for a variety of reasons including cost, security, and convenience.

So, for admins that are trying to move away from AD on-prem or avoid it altogether, implementing an advanced server access solution can be limiting. At the same time, all modern IT organizations need a secure mechanism to control privileged user access to remote infrastructure. Fortunately, the cloud has enabled developers to reimagine more than just the traditional PAM category.

More specifically, it is now possible to shift the core IdP itself to the cloud via next generation directory services platforms. These next gen platforms are more than just AD or LDAP in the cloud. Rather, the goal is to create the most complete IAM solution for modern networks and DevOps organizations. As a result, PAM, single sign-on (SSO), cross-platform system management (Windows, Mac, Linux), two-factor authentication (2FA), SSH key management, RADIUS and VLAN tagging, and more can now be consolidated into a single, comprehensive cloud-based service.

This is achievable with JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS).

State-of-the-Art Server Management

Directory-as-a-Service

If you’re interested in providing advanced server access without the need for an on-prem IdP or multiple IAM solutions, sign up for Directory-as-a-Service. The full functionality of the completely cloud-based DaaS solution is free for up to 10 users, and there’s no limit to how long you can you can demo the platform. So, you can explore our advanced server access functionality in addition to everything else that JumpCloud has to offer risk free for as long as you see fit. We also have an extensive Knowledge Base and YouTube library with supplemental information. Contact us with any questions.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and videographer at JumpCloud. Originally from a small village just outside of Albuquerque, he now calls Boulder home. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found doing creek stuff.

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