For many organizations, file servers are an important part of the IT infrastructure. Even so, on-prem file servers don’t get as much attention as their cloud-based counterparts (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud). But, if you’re an IT admin implementing a file server, you know you have it for a reason – and that file servers can be an irreplaceable component of an organization’s infrastructure. That said, file server management and authentication can be arduous and inefficient. So let’s look at how we can streamline file server authentication and essentially achieve SSO for file servers.
We will begin by considering the conventional methods of file server access management and then move on to how changes in the world of IT have impacted this experience. Finally, we’ll discuss how to bring file servers into your larger SSO and identity management strategy.
SSO for File Servers began with Active Directory
If you look back to when the IT landscape was far simpler, you’ll see that single sign-on into file servers came naturally. Authentication to the file server happened along with access to everything else – including a user’s system, their applications, servers, and the network. Of course, at the time the identity provider was Microsoft Active Directory® and the entire environment was Windows-based and on-prem. So in addition to access to systems, applications, and networks, a user’s Windows login also got them access to their Windows file server through the domain controller. This was powerful. Nobody needed to call this SSO, but the concept of SSO was inherent in the approach.
SSO Solutions Focused on Web-Based Apps
As more and more IT resources shifted to the cloud, a new IAM challenge arose: the Windows login or Active Directory infrastructure no longer connected users to all of their IT resources. Most SaaS applications and AWS infrastructure were (and still are) outside of the purview of the on-prem, legacy Active Directory instance. The result was that a new generation of web application SSO solutions appeared on the market.
While these initial SSO tools connected to web applications, they skipped cloud servers, Samba file (Read more...)