Identity and access management (IAM) in the cloud is a new category of solution in the IT world. While seasoned IT veterans might argue that Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) has been around for years, we’re talking about a much more significant solution for IT organizations. In short, we’re talking about a truly comprehensive cloud identity management solution.
The advantages of IAM in the cloud are numerous, including increased efficiency, security, control, and agility. However, to fully understand the significance of this cloud-based approach to managing identities, let’s take a quick look at the development of identity management solutions and what has changed through the years.
Overview of Identity Management
The modern era of identity management dates back to the creation of LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). LDAP was created in 1993 by our advisor, Tim Howes, and his colleagues at the University of Michigan. It was developed as a lightweight alternative to X.500, the precursor identity management solution, and has since been incredibly successful. In fact, LDAPv3 became the internet standard for directory services in 1997, and subsequently spawned two incredibly powerful on-prem identity management solutions: OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). Both of these on-prem identity providers (IdP) were introduced in the late 1990s and have remained mainstays in the IT world ever since, although AD has been far more dominant on a market share basis.
Identity Management with Active Directory
It’s important to note that both Active Directory and OpenLDAP were introduced at a time when IT environments were effectively on-prem networks of Windows®-based IT resources. For example, the vast majority of systems, applications, files, and networks all revolved around the Windows OS. As a result, AD quickly became the core identity management platform in most IT organizations.
Of course, Active Directory worked well when IT infrastructure was all Windows. However, as Mac® and Linux® systems started to enter the network, AD struggled. Then came web applications like G Suite™ (formerly Google Apps), cloud servers at AWS® or GCP™, storage solutions like Dropbox™ in the cloud (Read more...)