Why does it matter if an organization stores identities in multiple locations?
An identity is a set of user credentials that lets an individual access email, sensitive data, and all other kinds of IT resources. In other words, this is the access to everything that hackers want.
Obviously, keeping identities secure is essential to adhering to data regulations. When organizations store identities in different places, security problems arise. Many times, these are unique instances of a user database creating multiple identities for an individual within an organization.
So what exactly happens when an organization has identities in more than one place? And, what, if anything, can IT teams do to fix this? Let’s dive in.
Why Have a Single Source of Truth?
Apart from being a high security risk and also resource intensive for IT administrators and MSPs, storing identities in multiple locations is extremely frustrating for end users.
It’s a scene most can imagine easily, because they’ve experienced it. You get a request for a piece of information you don’t access regularly, so you go to the tool it’s stored in, say, Google Drive. But when you go to login, the login you had saved doesn’t work. What happened? Was it actually a team email instead of your personal email? Did you reset the password?
And, even if there is a core, authoritative identity provider (IdP), what if it isn’t flexible enough to extend to all of the IT resources a user needs to access?
At JumpCloud®, we call this runaround having mini directories all over your organization. If it sounds familiar, don’t worry: It’s a common challenge for many IT organizations. This is especially true when using solutions such as Active Directory® (AD or MAD), G Suite™, or, even, Azure Active Directory® (AAD or Azure AD) as a perceived comprehensive identity provider.
Another significant issue lies in the impact on productivity for the IT team. IT admins need to separately manage each set of identities within each location they are stored. That means manually provisioning and deprovisioning access when users arrive or depart. A missed identity somewhere means that the user still has access and the organization is at risk of a compromise.
What’s Stopping Most Organizations?
Using outdated technology is the main barrier organizations must face in consolidating their identity management.
MAD has been the long-standing on-premises directory services market share leader. Over the last decade, though, it has struggled with the introduction and rapid adoption of web applications, infrastructure-as-a-service, non-Windows® operating systems (macOS®, Linux®, and mobile operating systems), remote workers, and much more. This forced IT admins to bring in point solutions and create mini directories.
G Suite and Azure AD are excellent user management systems for their respective services and solutions, but struggle to be a comprehensive identity provider. IT admins are left extending these user management systems through a variety of identity management add-ons to the IT resources their end users need.
Importantly, all of these mini directories have a set of a user’s credentials. Identities in a wide range of places just means more surface area that IT admins need to cover from a security perspective.
How Using a Cloud Directory Can Help
In short, IT organizations need an independent, vendor agnostic solution that will be their central source of truth for identities and federate those identities to a wide range of IT resources including systems, applications, files, and networks regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location.
For over 100,000 organizations, JumpCloud serves as the source of truth for identities — the core, authoritative identity provider. And identity management is just one way JumpCloud can transform your IT environment. To discover more about how a cloud directory service can impact your IT organization, sign up for JumpCloud Free and witness firsthand how a single source of truth makes everyone’s lives easier.