Historically, the authentication process has been controlled by an on-prem identity provider. For most organizations, that has been Microsoft Active Directory®. But, as the IT landscape changes, IT organizations have been searching for an outsourced authentication platform.
First, we’ll take a brief look at the history of authentication, and then we’ll dive into the present IT world’s need for an outsourced authentication platform.
LDAP Launches Identity Management Platforms
The modern era of identity and access management kicked off with the advent of LDAP, the open source authentication protocol. Tim Howes and his colleagues at the University of Michigan created the LDAP authentication protocol to help connect users to directory resources. LDAP’s predecessor, the X.500, was too heavy for the infrastructure at the time, thus creating the need for a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).
LDAP paved the way for two major directory solutions in the identity management space: Microsoft Active Directory and OpenLDAP™. Both solutions focused on being the core identity provider for an organization. AD did that for Windows-based networks, while the open source OpenLDAP focused on more technical IT infrastructure such as Linux-based systems and applications. These solutions were based on-prem and also required significant effort from the IT organization including installation, configuration, and maintenance.
Constraints with Legacy Authentication Solutions
Since Active Directory was engineered by Microsoft, it should come as no surprise that the platform has always been focused on Windows systems and applications. But in the years since AD’s inception, the IT landscape has shifted away from 100% Windows environment to heterogeneous environments. In the process, AD has become a liability.
Modern IT organizations are leveraging Mac and Linux systems, cloud infrastructure from AWS and Google Cloud Platform, and a myriad of web applications such as Slack and GitHub. All of these fundamental changes to the IT infrastructure have had a significant impact on the process of authenticating users to their IT resources. IT organizations have been forced to either manually manage user access or add third party solutions on top of the existing Active Directory instance. Neither of these solutions are viable as organizations (Read more...)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Natalie Bluhm. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/outsourced-authentication/