Introduction to a Cloud Directory

Introduction to a Cloud Directory

Historically, the directory service has been provided on-prem via solutions such as Microsoft® Active Directory® or OpenLDAP™. This made a great deal of sense because most networks were on-prem and Windows® -based. As you probably know, however, the IT landscape hasn’t stayed this way. Instead, it has changed and shifted by moving to the cloud. In response, a new generation of directory service is emerging that is delivered from the cloud, and this article will serve as an introduction to a cloud directory.

Evolution of a Cloud Directory

In the early part of the cloud movement, on-prem identity and access management (IAM) solutions could be delivered from the cloud. However, the provider typically just managed the server the solution was hosted on; IT organizations were still responsible for the software, configuration, security, load balancing, and other tasks associated with a directory service. For a while, there was little thought on how to take advantage of the characteristics of the cloud to deliver an identity provider as a service. In other words, IAM players weren’t thinking about how to deliver a cloud IAM solution that takes on the configuration, maintenance, and security, so that IT organizations can simply focus on managing users and systems in the directory service.

As time went on, the cloud matured and directory service providers did start to innovate as they brought next generation capabilities into their cloud solutions, including the “as-a-Service” component. Now, true cloud directory services are available, and they offer support for virtually all IT resources, no on-prem hardware or software required. These aspects makes them quite attractive against their on-prem, legacy counterparts. Why?

The Challenge with Traditional Identity Providers

You see, Microsoft Active Directory was the leading traditional approach for identity management. At the time of its creation, most IT networks were on-prem and Windows-based, and AD was built with this in mind. Then, IT networks started to change with the addition of macOS® and Linux® systems, web applications, cloud infrastructure from AWS® , NAS appliances and Samba file servers, WiFi, and more. This transformation (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – 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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