The worldwide cloud public services market is expected to be worth $246.8 billions by the end of 2017, with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications making up $46.3 billion (Gartner). The SaaS model is revolutionary because it typically leverages the browser as the container. This allows for faster and more frequent updates, easier scalability, and lower upfront costs. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many IT management categories are moving towards “as-a-service” models, hosted in the cloud. One area of interest for IT admins is SaaS authentication.
There are a number of different components to consider when it comes to authentication. One component is how internal users are authenticating to their everyday IT resources. Another component to consider is how customers are authenticating to online applications. IT admins and DevOps engineers are interested in moving both of these authentication components to the web. However, this post will focus on internal user authentication as we take a look at authentication in the past and why the modern era of IT needs SaaS authentication.
Authentication and Active Directory
The IT landscape is dramatically different than it was even a decade ago. Back then, IT admins were able to easily control access to resources because they were virtually all Windows-based and on-prem. Microsoft Active Directory® was the solution that was used to authenticate users to the Windows network. After logging into their Windows system and gaining access to the Windows network, users were able to access their suite of Microsoft resources like Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office – one set of credentials and one authentication process.
But that was for a homogenous, on-prem IT environment. The process is not nearly as simple or streamlined when you factor in additional operating systems or cloud-based apps and resources.
Active Directory Faces Authentication Challenges
Over the last decade the network has moved away from Windows. Mac systems have taken over 20% of the market share and Linux systems are on the rise too. Cloud servers from AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and others are now replacing on-prem data centers. Web applications are replacing on-prem (Read more...)