The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP for short, is one of the core protocols that was developed for directory services. According to Chron.com, LDAP is used to distribute lists of information organized into directory information trees, which are stored within an LDAP database. However, in order to access information stored within an LDAP database, the user must first authenticate their identity. What is LDAP authentication? Continue reading for the answer to this question, and to learn how the JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® platform can deliver LDAP authentication as a cloud-based service.
Origins of LDAP
Before we define what LDAP authentication is, we should talk about the significance of LDAP as a whole. According to Tim Howes, co-inventor of the LDAP protocol, LDAP was developed at the University of Michigan to initially replace DAP (the Directory Access Protocol) and provide low-overhead access to the X.500 Directory – the forerunner directory service that LDAP would eventually replace.
“I was in a group of young upstarts who were trying to bring Unix and the Internet to campus. The Internet was just emerging, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was creating standards for everything related to the Internet, including email and directory services. So, we were working with X.500, which was ISO’s standard for directory services. At that time, I was also working for the University’s information technology division. I was assigned this project to deploy an X.500 directory for the campus, which I completed, but I quickly learned that it was way too heavy of a protocol and too complicated for the machines that were on most people’s desktops. LDAP came out of my desire to do something a little lighter weight in order to accommodate the Macs and PCs that were on everybody’s desktop.” – Tim Howes
LDAP has been highly successful ever since it was first introduced in 1993. In fact, LDAP.v3 became the Internet standard for directory services in 1997, according to Wikipedia. LDAP also inspired the creation of OpenLDAP™, the leading open source directory services platform, (Read more...)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Vince Lujan. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/ldap/what-is-ldap-authentication/