Virtual Directory Services

virtual directory services

Directory services have long been on-prem pieces of IT infrastructure. However, many IT admins have found themselves looking for a cloud alternative. The question is, is it possible to have virtual directory services? The answer is yes. A new generation of cloud identity management platforms is emerging, and JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, a virtual directory service, is leading the way.

Origin of the On-Prem Directory

old office

The category of directory services was first enabled by the introduction of the lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP). This protocol was created at the University of Michigan by Tim Howes, one of JumpCloud’s advisors, and some of his colleagues. Shortly after its creation, the modern age of the directory began. From this protocol, two of the most popular directory options have appeared: OpenLDAP, which became the most popular open source solution, and Microsoft Active Directory®, which became the most popular commercial option.

These two solutions were designed to make it easy to connect users to the IT resources they needed through the centralized identity provider. They granted IT admins the ability to manage different resources in their organization, and made it easy to keep track of who had access to what. AD was the best choice for on-prem Windows-based networks, which nearly all enterprise setups were in the early 2000s, and OpenLDAP worked well in more technical Linux-oriented situations. These solutions worked, and for a while admins were able to handle all of their management needs with ease. But, as we all know with technology, nothing stays the same for very long.

The Growing Need for a New Directory

Active Directory fails in the cloud

As the IT landscape shifted to a heterogeneous, cloud-based environment, the legacy directory services solutions struggled. Mac and Linux devices were difficult to manage. Cloud infrastructure was off-prem and required extra security and networking. Web applications often leveraged a different protocol than those supported by AD and OpenLDAP. All of these challenges and more started to build up, creating pain points in IT admins everyday life.

The result of all of this change was a disjointed identity management strategy, and (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Jon Griffin. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/virtual-directory-services/

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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