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Cloud Directories, IDaaS, and Federation IdPs vs. the Rest of Your IAM Infrastructure

Integrating the New Identity While Evolving Your Existing Identity

Right at the beginning of the year, I introduced you to Radiant’s Great Migration map, our vision for the identity landscape of today and tomorrow. I’d like to follow up that discussion with a series of posts about the importance of integrating IDaaS cloud services and directories with your existing IAM infrastructure and LDAP applications. After all, unless your company is digital native or you’re starting from scratch with a greenfield deployment, you probably have an identity infrastructure that looks a little something like the lower two-thirds of the map—even as you reach for the cloud.

Your Guide to a Federated Identity Service

For many major enterprises, the existing identity system is more ocean and less cloud…

In any case, IDaaS or “identity-as-a-service” is a very promising direction for a field that’s been stuck in the datacenter for a very long time. The value proposition is especially exciting for larger enterprises, like most of our customers. For one, federation makes it easier to offer SSO and a more user-friendly portal, which is great news whether you’re extending access to new employees and partners after a merger or enabling customers to manage accounts across a world of different services, each one brought online at a different time. A directory on the cloud also abstracts location dependency for applications, which is key for mobility, as well as for multi-national companies with sites across the globe.

Are You Confident that All Your Apps Speak Federation Standards or IDaaS APIs?

Yet at the level of access/authentication and directory information, these benefits are available only to applications that can leverage federation standards such as SAML and OpenID Connect and/or specific APIs supported by individual IDaaS vendors. Unfortunately, most enterprise LDAP-based applications and traditional WAM portals can’t do either, which means they cannot authenticate through SAML or a cloud directory because that would require calling an API that is not LDAP. While a directory on the cloud is great for new initiatives and applications, to all your WAM and LDAP apps, that cloud directory just looks like another silo. And that means that all these benefits are confined to the new part of the stack—even though they’d be especially helpful for adding agility to the existing stack. So how does a large company with extensive investments in yesterday’s tech take full advantage of tomorrow’s identity and access solutions? (Hint: it involves virtualization and integration with RadiantOne FID…)

Stay tuned for my next post, where we’ll dive a little deeper into the infrastructure—and soar a little higher into the cloud—as we look at how to empower IDaaS with a federated identity service.

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