“In 1958, corporations listed in the S&P 500 had an average stay of 61 years. By 1980, numbers from research firm Innosight reveal that the average stay had declined sharply to 25 years. In 2011, the average tenure dropped to 18 years. At the present rate of churn, Innosight’s research estimates three-quarters of today’s S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027.” – Harvard Business Review
The world is moving faster than it ever has, and even legacy empires are not immune from the disruption. One of the key factors in being the disruptor and not the disrupted is agility. Organizations that can move quickly and easily are able to respond to change and remain competitive in their markets.
In order to remain as agile as possible, companies are constantly reevaluating processes, systems, and technology to ensure they are nimble in every way. When it comes to rethinking technology, many organizations have been taking advantage of cloud IT resources to increase their nimbleness, and now they’re keen on moving their identity provider to the cloud as well. As IT admins research this possibility, many are wondering, “How can I increase agility with a cloud identity provider?” It’s a smart question considering an identity provider plays a crucial role in an organization’s ability to easily adapt to changes in the market. But before we present specifics, let’s briefly cover some basics, like what is an identity provider and why it greatly impacts agility. Then we’ll cover how a cloud identity provider increases agility.
Identity Provider 101
An identity provider (IdP) connects users to the digital tools they use everyday, like email, applications, internet, work systems, files, and more. Also known as a directory service or identity management solution, an IdP lays the groundwork for what IT resources you can use, how users go about accessing those resources everyday, and how much time IT admins have to devote to managing user access and the IdP itself.
Many companies are interested in shifting their directory service to the cloud because traditional solutions, like Microsoft® Active Directory®, come with a few constraints that greatly impact agility. First off, an on-prem directory service often requires on-prem hardware and software. Getting that hardware, maintaining it, and regularly upgrading it is an expensive time sink and not the easiest to scale. Second, legacy identity providers tend to be homogeneous, meaning they focus on supporting resources from one provider, platform, or protocol. This makes it difficult to adapt IT resources according to what the market demands.
A cloud identity provider like, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, is different in that it is completely cloud-based, and it doesn’t really matter what computer operating system you like to use, or if your apps, file storage, and data centers are in the cloud or on-prem. A true cloud identity management solution simply cares about making work happen for IT admins and end users by making it easy to use the digital tools that provide the most value for the company.
How Does a Cloud IdP Increase Agility?
Adapts to Technology Trends
Every year new technology emerges that can help your employees do their jobs better and faster. Consequently, “businesses simply can’t afford to move at a 1998 or 2008 pace in 2019” (Reflektive). Part of moving at a 2019 pace requires adapting to the new technology that is available today because it’s necessary to help your employees remain competitive in your market. As Reflektive’s blog put it, “There’s a reason computers replaced typewriters, and email replaced paper mail and faxes.” A cloud directory service’s part in this is that its open and flexible nature empowers organizations with the choice to use the technology they need to stay current and on top of the latest breakthroughs in business processes.
For example, a prominent technology trend right now is intelligent automation. Intelligent automation software offers increases in efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and can help workers gain more time to focus on the work that furthers the company’s mission. In fact, Grab (Southeast Asia’s leading online-to-offline platform) has been able to save 3,000 man hours across their organization thanks to integrating intelligent automation solutions with their cloud directory service. New technology has the power to significantly impact your entire operation for the better, and a nimble cloud IdP will help you adjust your IT stack accordingly.
Eliminates the Burden of On-Prem Hardware
Another way a cloud identity provider assists with agility is being serverless without any hardware required. To put this into perspective, a traditional on-prem directory service utilizes physical servers, load balancers, SQL server, Active Directory Federation Services and web proxies, DirSync, RADIUS and security infrastructure, and more. Plus, identity management needs to be up and running 100% of the time, so that means IT admins have to make sure there isn’t a single point of failure. That entails having extra instances of the hardware. On top of that, purchasing and regularly upgrading this hardware is not cheap. Then, there’s also the time it takes to maintain and manage it all, and this eats into how IT admins can spend their time and where IT labor costs end up going.
Let’s take a look at Grab again. They had zero interest in implementing a traditional directory service for this exact reason:
We knew that AD was labor intensive to manage and required on-prem servers and hardware. It wouldn’t scale with us. So we began looking at alternatives and the cloud-only approach appealed to us.
With a cloud-only directory service, Grab found they could deploy it in a day with very little hassle. This was crucial because as their IT team put it, “Grab gains a large advantage by being first to market in any new city we serve. We are sometimes given very short timelines to set up a new office—even as little as two weeks. So, the need to deploy quickly was one of the main reasons we went with JumpCloud.”
Grab certainly isn’t the only fast growing company to appreciate a cloud identity management solution. Cabify is a transportation network company that has also come to value a cloud-only approach. As their Global IT Directory, Enrique explained:
Look at the benefits of working in the cloud and compare that to the old way of IT. In my opinion, it’s amazing to have everything centralized in the cloud, and it’s very nice not having to worry about the local infrastructure. I don’t have to concern myself with interlinking each server and such. Instead, I just have to manage the connectivity of the offices.
Streamlines Growth and Expansion
A cloud identity management solution also enables an organization to scale their business with ease. Do you have plans to hire a lot? A cloud IdP offers flexible administration that makes it easy to onboard new hires. For example, an intuitive UI, features like Groups, and powerful APIs are tools sysadmins can employ to ensure new hires get everything they need on day one. Because flexible administration enables efficient IT processes, an IT department doesn’t necessarily need more admins as the company scales.
Another aspect of scaling a business is being able to expand your location. A cloud IdP makes this hassle-free (at least, where IT is concerned) because you won’t need to worry about IAM hardware components for your new offices, you won’t need VPNs, and the IT admins at your headquarters can easily manage the users and resources at these new locations.
After growing 3000% over the last two years, Cabify knew they needed an identity provider that could keep up and not hold them back. They decided a cloud directory service was the way to go:
We decided not to use Active Directory because it’s built on top of layers and layers and layers. It’s not like JumpCloud’s LDAP solution that has been created from the ground up with modern lightweight standards in mind, and it’s been nice having centralized control over our global IT environment.
We have 30+ offices across 11 countries, and there are only seven of us in IT. Some of our offices don’t have their own IT department, so we have to manage their environment remotely. It’s been incredibly helpful to have a cloud directory service with a web-based console that enables every Cabify IT administrator to easily manage an office’s IT environment regardless of where the office is.
Embraces the Future
Because a cloud IdP can so easily adapt to new IT resources and support expanding enterprises, organizations can be confident about taking on the future. They don’t have to worry about upgrading hardware and making sure they have the right amount. They don’t have to worry about not being able to support new apps and services down the line. Essentially, as an organization grows and adapts, a cloud identity provider will do so as well.
A future proof identity provider has definitely instilled peace of mind for Grab:
We always have to be one step ahead. What’s around the next corner? How can I solve tomorrow’s issue before it becomes a problem? JumpCloud enables us to take on the future with confidence. There is very little overhead in our planned growth with JumpCloud.
For Enrique at Cabify, a cloud identity provider’s open nature makes them feel prepared to take on whatever comes next:
I’m a big supporter of moving into the cloud, and I think the sooner, the better. Everybody knows that the days of the domain controller and Active Directory are gone. It’s just a matter of phasing them out. I know for Cabify, we want to grow with JumpCloud, and the most important part for us is that JumpCloud is paving the way for how we envision our future IT environment.
At the end of the day, whatever future you’re trying to get ahead of, you’ll be able to count on a cloud identity provider to be right there with you because it’s adaptable, comes with little overhead, and scales easily.
Interested in learning more about the cloud IAM platform Cabify and Grab have implemented? You’ll find their case studies and others in the carousel above. All of our customer case studies offer examples of how JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service has helped them with agility, productivity, security, and more. Ready to see how a cloud identity provider increases agility? Register for our introductory webinar, or sign up for a free account. Of course, if you are ready to talk to a person about our cloud identity management solution, drop us a note, and one of our technical experts will happily get back to you.