Most IT management tool categories have shifted to the cloud, but not all of them. In the identity management space, the directory service has been slow to join infrastructure, applications, and file storage in the cloud. Now, a new generation of cloud identity provider (IdP) is emerging, and it is known as JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®.
Let’s take a look at the IT landscape when IdP’s first emerged, how the IT landscape has changed since then, and why a cloud IdP is an excellent solution for today’s modern IT environment.
The Beginning of IdPs
Historically, the identity provider has been on-prem, and this makes a lot of sense when you look at where the identity provider started. The IdP was really created because of the advent of LDAP and a few other authentication protocols. These protocols were embedded in the two most popular directory services solutions called OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft® Active Directory®. Over time, AD would become the market share leader because of its tight support and integration with Windows systems, applications, and networks. Of course, in the early 2000s, virtually all networks were Windows based.
A Changing IT Landscape Calls for a Cloud IdP
The Microsoft approach to the IdP worked well until the IT landscape started to shift. Web-based applications flooded IT environments; users started to gravitate towards Mac and Linux systems; wireless networks began to replace wired ones; and servers and file storage moved to the cloud. These changes altered the relationship between users and Active Directory. AD was no longer able to smoothly and efficiently connect users to all of their IT resources. Additionally, this new relationship dramatically reduced IT’s visibility over their environment. Over time, IT lost the ability to ensure end users where complying with company and security policies across a variety of IT resources.
The result was that a number of ‘add-on’ solutions were created including directory extensions, web application SSO (single sign-on) solutions, and privileged identity management platforms. All of these created a complex web of solutions for the overall identity management infrastructure for an organization.