Organizations have been using LDAP for user management and authentication for nearly three decades. In that time, the protocol has expanded and evolved to meet changing IT environments and business needs. This blog covers everything you need to know about LDAP, from its origins to its place in the cloud-driven business world today, and explains how it works, how it’s used, how to get started, and which LDAP solutions might be right for your needs.

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The LDAP Protocol

LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) is one of the core protocols that was developed for directory services, and most directory services still use LDAP today, although they may also use additional protocols like SAML, RADIUS, SMB, and others. In a nutshell, LDAP specifies a method of directory storage and facilitates the authentication and authorization of users to servers and applications. It was developed in 1993 by Tim Howes and others at the University of Michigan to be a lightweight, low-overhead version of the X.500 directory services protocols that were in use at the time, like DAP (directory access protocol). 

Pulled quote: LDAP includes a subset of full X.500 functionality. It runs directory over TCP and uses a simplified data representation for many protocol elements. These simplifications make LDAP clients smaller, faster, and easier to implement than full X.500 clients.

X.500 was hard on both the systems (large footprint) and network (bandwidth intensive). In fact, many of the systems on people’s desks in the early 1990s could not connect to an X.500 directory service, so it was limited to specific systems (think more mini-computers or micro-computers back in the day – not PCs). LDAP solved these problems by allowing for authentication and authorization of users to servers and applications while reducing overhead, bandwidth use, and demand on endpoints. As a result of these efficiencies, LDAP would find great success and become the de facto internet directory (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Rajat Bhargava. Read the original post at: