Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions have been a major focus for IT admins ever since web applications were first introduced in the mid-2000’s. However, there is a growing sentiment in IT circles that traditional SSO solutions aren’t enough to effectively manage modern IT networks. To understand why SSO isn’t enough, at least as far as IT admins are concerned, we need to step back and analyze how the market has evolved. In doing so, we can also reveal the benefits of a next generation True SSO® solution called Directory-as-a-Service®.
Life Before Web Applications
IT networks looked a lot different around the turn of the century. There were no web applications, no cloud computing solutions, even WiFi was still in its infancy as a business resource. Instead, IT networks were on-prem and predominantly built from Microsoft® IT solutions.
For example, the vast majority of users leveraged Windows-based systems. They used Microsoft Office® as their productivity suite. Microsoft Exchange® was for email. SCCM (previously SMS) was for Windows servers. All of it was managed with Active Directory® and all of it required a lot of on-prem hardware to make it work.
While this type of homogeneous IT environment may sound antiquated by modern standards, it did offer a number of benefits for users and IT admins alike. For example, one huge advantage was the ability to leverage a core Microsoft user identity to authenticate user access to a comprehensive array of Windows-based IT resources. It also made management a breeze for IT admins with one central management platform that could control the breadth of an organization’s IT infrastructure.
However, web applications emerged in the early 2000’s and started to change the user access landscape. The challenge was that authentication to web applications didn’t work in the same way as legacy applications. For example, web applications were not on-prem and could not be directly bound to a domain controller. Nor were they Microsoft products in most cases. A consequence of this approach was that AD, which was designed to manage Microsoft IT resources on-prem, began to stumble.