What is DaaS? (Directory as a Service) – JumpCloud

Written by Natalie Bluhm on February 27, 2018

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The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry has proven to work so well that it is expected to be worth $55.1 billion by the end of 2018 (Gartner). So, it’s not a surprise that the “as-a-Service” model has found its way into a variety of other businesses. From Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to even Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), it’s possible to find a whole host of products that are offered on a subscription basis. There is such a huge variety that many “as-a-Service” products end up using the same acronym, and one of those is DaaS. So, what is DaaS? There is Desktop-as-a-Service, Device-as-a-Service, Data-as-a-Service, and JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. So, it’s not a surprise that many are wondering what the difference is between these four DaaS products.

If you’ve been wondering this yourself, then you’ve found the right blog post. So let’s take a look at the difference between Directory-as-a-Service, Desktop-as-a-Service, Device-as-a-Service, Data-as-a-Service. To be clear, we at JumpCloud are the creators of Directory-as-a-Service – the only cloud-based directory service that helps IT organizations better manage their systems, apps, files, and networks – so we’re partial to that definition of DaaS. Still, we’ll try to be as even-handed as possible in defining all the different meanings of DaaS.

What is DaaS – Directory-as-a-Service 

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is a cloud-based directory service that enables IT admins to centralize user access to all of their IT resources regardless of the provider, protocol, platform, and location. JumpCloud takes care of the maintenance, availability, and configuration, while organizations simply enjoy using the features that come with JumpCloud’s cloud identity provider.

The benefit of using JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is that organizations can choose the resources that work best in their environment without compromising security. JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service leverages a multi-protocol approach that allows IT to manage user authentication to Windows, Mac, and Linux systems (via our system agent), applications (using LDAP and SAML), file storage (via Samba), and networks (using cloud RADIUS). This provides IT admins with a centralized, secure environment, and end users gain frictionless access to all of the IT resources they need to do their job.

JumpCloud aims to be resilient in the face of any number of networking, infrastructure, physical, or other challenges, and strives for 100% availability. Read more about JumpCloud’s resilience plan.

What is DaaS – Desktop-as-a-Service

What is DaaS – Desktop-as-a-Service

Desktop-as-a-Service is a hosted version of virtual desktop infrastructure (TomsITPro). Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is an approach where the desktop operating system (OS) is delivered to the endpoint over the company network. This means IT often runs and manages the desktop OS in the data center (TechTarget). This is different from the traditional approach where the desktop OS sits on the actual computer an end user is using.

VDI allows organizations to hang onto older devices longer or utilize cheaper machines that are less powerful because most of the computing takes place in the data center, not on the actual computer (TomsITPro). VDI also provides some security benefits. For example, all of the data and work product a user creates is stored in the data center, not the actual computer. If the computer ever gets stolen, the company doesn’t have to worry about the thief accessing the data on the computer because there is no data on the computer (TomsITPro). However, there are some negative aspects to VDI as well.

The infrastructure needed to run VDI can be costly and end users have to be able to access the company network in order to use their VDI (TechTarget). If the network ever goes down, so does the user’s ability to work on their computer. The good news is Desktop-as-a-Service solves some of these problems.

With Desktop-as-a-Service, a third party hosts the network, servers, user desktops, and applications an IT organization needs to use in a VDI environment (TechTarget). Desktop-as-a-Service offers the same benefits as VDI except companies don’t have to worry about acquiring the hardware or having IT staff to manage VDI. This makes Desktop-as-a-Service a great solution for small to medium sized business that want to utilize VDI.  

What is DaaS – Device-as-a-Service 

What is DaaS – Device-as-a-Service 

From just the name, it’s easy to think that Device-as-a-Service is similar to Desktop-as-a-Service, but they are actually very different. When a company uses Device-as-a-Service, they pay a monthly fee to a device provider and in return the device provider takes care of deployment, management, services, and the retiring of a device (BizTech). Device-as-a-Service providers typically offer a whole host of devices that companies can rent, ranging from mobile devices to laptops.

There are a number of benefits in leveraging Device-as-a-Service, and the first one has to do with reducing IT workload. With Device-as-a-Service, IT organizations no longer have to manage and maintain the systems in their environment. According to an IDC survey, IT admins reported that managing systems took up 14% of their time (iT1). Device-as-a-Service gives this time back to IT, allowing them to spend more time on higher priority company initiatives.

Another benefit of Device-as-a-Service is its impact on costs. Through this service, organizations only have to rent the devices they actually need. This means organizations can quickly scale up, but more importantly, also scale down their devices when they have to downsize (Tech.pinions). Companies that choose to buy their devices outright have the challenge of figuring out what to do with excess devices when they are in a season of downsizing. Additionally, Device-as-a-Service enables organizations to better predict costs because hardware refreshes and maintenance are all figured into the plan they opt into.

Right now, Device-as-a-Service is a very new service. This means the model is still being figured out, and the options for Device-as-a-Service providers are limited (Tech.pinions). Only time will tell if this version of DaaS sticks around and what sort of limitations organizations can expect with Device-as-a-Service.

What is DaaS – Data-as-a-Service

What is DaaS – Data-as-a-Service 

Data-as-a-Service allows customers to access data such as text, images, sounds, and videos over a network connection (TechTarget). Data-as-a-Service providers manage and distribute the streams of data. In the past, organizations would store and manage their own data in a self-contained storage system. This setup wasn’t always the easiest to access and the more complex the data was, the more difficult it was to manage and analyze.

One of the main benefits of Data-as-a-Service is that it has made data easier to share and work with. Companies can access their data anywhere in the world, and departments can take advantage of insights found in data collected by other departments (something rather difficult to do in the past) (Forbes). Additionally, because Data-as-a-Service providers create one place where data is stored, managed, and accessed, data quality is significantly improved. This is because all updates occur in one central location, so organizations are able to easily find and access the most up-to-date data.

Even though network delivery is Data-as-a-Service’s biggest advantage, it’s also one of its drawbacks. Organizations are dependent on the Data-as-a-Service provider to avoid server downtime (Wikipedia). If an organization needs access to their data and the server is down, they won’t be able to access it until the server is running again.

The Four Types of DaaS

So, what is Daas? Now you have four answers. JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is helping IT admins secure their environment while also making it easier for employees to access their digital assets. Desktop-as-a-Service is subscription based virtual desktop infrastructure and Device-as-a-Service is renting the systems you want to use in your company. Finally, Data-as-a-Service can help you make data-driven decisions while leaving the data management to someone else.

Learn more about Directory-as-a-Service

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about what is DaaS. If you are interested in learning more about how you can leverage JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, please drop us a note. We also offer a free account that gives you access to all of our directory services features. Sign up here and enjoy your first ten users on us.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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