Directory-as-a-Service: SaaS Directory Services

Directory-as-a-Service SaaS Directory Services

The modern approach to SaaS directory services is called Directory-as-a-Service®. As the IT landscape shifts to the cloud, it is critical for IT admins to bring their IT management infrastructure to the cloud as well. This shift has happened in most categories, but identity management has been late in joining the move to the cloud. Now, Directory-as-a-Service is ‘SaaSifying’ the core identity provider. 

As we lay out the core identity provider’s development over time, the significance of a cloud identity management solution becomes clear.

A Tale of Two Directories

SaaS Directory Services begins it's rise to fame with a tale of two directories

Stepping back through history, the directory services landscape has been largely owned by two solutions – Microsoft Active Directory® and the open source, OpenLDAP™. This approach worked incredibly well when the IT infrastructure was either Windows-based or supported the LDAP protocol. IT was able to have optimal visibility over users, systems, applications, and files and granular control over the infrastructure in their environment.

Over the last decade, though, the IT landscape has changed dramatically. Today, an organization’s users don’t always work in the same place, and according to Gallup, 43% of Americans work remotely. Mac and Linux endpoints are populating the workplace at an increasing rate, and web-based applications are used more than ever. Additionally, infrastructure has moved to the cloud thanks to the likes of AWS and Google Cloud Platform.  

Networks have become wireless, and the increase in cyber and malware attacks have IT admins hyper concerned about identity security. The modern office is completely different from the IT infrastructure that AD has been managing for almost two decades. Now, this mixed platform environment is putting pressure and stress on both the identity provider and AD – not to mention the IT team that runs it.

SSO: The “Bandaid” Solution

SSO providers are not SaaS Directory Services

Since the revolution of the IT landscape, some solutions have emerged. Single sign-on (SSO) solutions were created to solve Active Directory’s trouble connecting with web apps. These web-app SSO platforms would sit on top of Active Directory and allow IT to securely connect AD user identities to web-based applications. Then this other piece of technology called a (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Natalie Bluhm. Read the original post at:

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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