Why Use Cloud LDAP?

By Kayla Coco-Stotts Posted October 10, 2019

A collection of evergreens in a foggy valley

Cloud LDAP is an LDAP microservice reimagined for modern IT to securely manage and connect users to their LDAP-based systems, applications, files, and networks with absolutely no on-premises hardware needed. In a modern, cloud-based IT world, cloud LDAP makes authenticating and authorizing user access a pain-free process.

What is LDAP?

The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is one of the core authentication protocols leveraged by directory services to search and access lists of information organized into directory information trees. Introduced in 1993, LDAP was developed initially to replace the Directory Access Protocol (DAP), and it quickly became one of the industry standards for Identity and Access Management (IAM).

LDAP thrived as a more efficient, less bandwidth-intensive version of DAP. This protocol played an important role in the sharing and organization of information and identity management within solutions like Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD), OpenLDAP, and, now, even JumpCloud®

But What are the Problems With LDAP?

Although OpenLDAP and AD dominated the IT industry for years, advancements in technology meant that an IT admin’s environment was no longer unified. LDAP servers generally struggled with controlling access to Windows®-based and macOS® systems. Web applications often leveraged the SAML protocol which meant that a separate system was necessary. WiFi infrastructure and VPNs often preferred the RADIUS protocol rather than LDAP, meaning that on-prem LDAP directory services became:

  • Less useful because of the diversity of IT resources;
  • An extra solution to manage; and,
  • An anchor to staying on-prem with IT management infrastructure.

Why put LDAP in the cloud?

A unified directory is key to managing all the IT resources within an organization. With other IAM systems moving to the cloud, on-prem LDAP options like AD and OpenLDAP are becoming more expensive and complicated to implement. A directory in the cloud is key to keeping everything thriving under one metaphorical roof. Managing users across any system, whether it be Windows, macOS, or Linux, is now reality, not contingency. Furthermore, extending those same identities to on-prem and web applications via not only LDAP, but SAML, is now imperative. With a mobile workforce, providing access to secure networks is also a core part of the role that IT admins play.

Cloud LDAP is a core tool in the overall cloud identity management toolbox that lets IT admins secure access across IT resources without sacrificing time or energy on configuring and maintaining on-prem OpenLDAP or AD. The SaaS-based LDAP solution is available anywhere there is a network connection, without physical servers to maintain. By leveraging cloud LDAP, IT admins can offload the drawbacks of traditional LDAP while securely managing and connecting users to their systems, applications, files, and networks.

JumpCloud’s CloudLDAP

Thankfully, there’s an option for organizations that need LDAP without any of the on-prem hardware or work. By leveraging cloud LDAP, IT admins can offload the drawbacks of traditional LDAP implementations without sacrificing their benefits. LDAP-as-a-Service links a global network of pre-configured OpenLDAP instances to JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS), reimagining LDAP and Active Directory for the modern era. 

Interested in learning more? Check out the features of JumpCloud’s cloud LDAP. If you’d like to try DaaS out for yourself, you can sign up for a free account and see our cloud LDAP solution in action.

Kayla Coco-Stotts

Kayla is a content writer at JumpCloud with a B.A. in Print Journalism from the University of Kentucky. She hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and loves to eat good food and hike Boulder's beautiful trails when she is not writing.

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