Is Google IdP a Directory Service?

is Google IdP a directory service

Google has a long history of taking up arms against Microsoft with services like Gmail and G Suite. So, it makes sense that IT admins are wondering if Google’s next battle with Microsoft might have something to do with Google Cloud Identity and Active Directory. Can Google’s identity provider (IdP), Google Cloud Identity, successfully compete against AD? An even better question is, “Is Google IdP a directory service?” The simple answer is no. Google IdP isn’t a comprehensive directory service.

Let’s take a look at what Google is doing in the IAM space. Doing so will help explain why Google IdP isn’t the solution you are looking for if you are interested in a true cloud directory.

Google and the IAM Space

G Suite Google Identity Management Challenges

Google IdP is a user management platform for Google Apps and services. On top of that, Google IdP also acts as a SAML identity provider for third party web applications such as Salesforce and Workday. However, when it comes to being a core directory service with control over systems, legacy applications, files, and networks, the Google IDaaS approach breaks down.

To be fair, Google’s focus on the IAM space has largely been with G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) and Google Cloud Platform. That focus has led them to compete with Microsoft solutions such as Office 365, Azure, Windows Server, and Exchange. But, Google IdP is no competitor to Active Directory.

Google IdP and Active Directory

Google Cloud Identity Management

Interestingly, Google has opted to sidestep competition with Active Directory. Instead, they’re trying to be a complement to AD. There are a wide range of reasons for this, but perhaps some of the most critical reasons are that being a core authentication provider requires being able to integrate with on-prem resources like Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. It would also require Google to support authentication services with their competition. As a result, Google has been much more interested in leveraging their IdP to be a user management system for Google Apps and services. This makes them a less than ideal choice for a directory service. However, there is a third (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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