By Stephanie DeCamp Posted December 9, 2019
There’s been a lot of talk about retiring Active Directory lately. As an IT admin, considering this makes a lot of sense — the platform is 20 years old. As a result, you may be asking whether Okta® can retire AD for you.
That question, like many others, only you can answer definitively. Every IT environment is distinct, and every organization’s goals are no less unique. While only you know the specifics of your environment, this article will establish some larger-scale baselines to help begin your evaluation.
What’s the Difference Between Active Directory and Okta?
Active Directory is the dominant provider when it comes to directory services, and has been since it was first introduced in 1999. But when the directory service first hit shelves, the IT landscape was very different. It was almost entirely Windows®-based and on-prem, with systems not on-prem requiring VPN tunnels to access vital resources. Since then, the industry has seen a world of changes with the advent of the cloud. As IT environments have evolved, AD is no longer the one-size-fits-all solution for Identity and Access Management (IAM).
Over time, IT organizations added third-party solutions to keep AD as their core IdP, and one of their central needs was to extend user identities to web apps. This is where web application single sign-on (SSO) solutions, such as Okta, really made their name.
Okta is one of the leading SSO solutions today, and does a great job of channeling AD identities and federating them to web applications. This creates seamless access for users and grants IT admins more control and security.
But this is where the dovetail ends, because overall, AD is built as a core directory of user management for an organization — controlling authentication (AuthN) and authorization (AuthZ) to all Windows-based IT resources, including applications, networks, file servers and operating systems. Okta, in contrast, was historically built as a portal for web application SSO that integrates with other cloud-based work solutions.
When the Combination Fails
While integration of the two (Read more...)