Cloud computing, the fresh evolution of grid computing has emerged out as the influential paradigm for managing and delivering internet based services. The benefits of cloud benefits are numerous and believe me they are not only limited to storage and computing capacity. Basically cloud is a “pay as you use” model that allows enterprises to outsource their data and IT services plus it offers them a broad network access and rapid elasticity at low cost. Cloud is capable of providing anything as a service for example software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, database as a service or identity as a service.
Another main concern related to cloud is its complexity. Cloud is a very dynamic system with many users, devices and networks that are simultaneously connecting and disconnecting with the cloud. That is why Cloud can be considered as a human brain where several neurons connect and change their structure continuously to store information. But unlike human brain where these connecting neurons are already authenticated, cloud needs an external authentication and identity management system as well. These cloud based identity management systems are very much different from traditional identity management systems. These cloud identity management systems need dynamic provisioning, synchronization, scalability and access control. In addition to all of this they need to have updated and synchronized identity information in order to avoid the conflicts caused by the usage of old user data.
After having a thorough inspection of many state of the art Cloud based identity management systems it can be seen that the rate of migration to the cloud is very low. The reason behind this are several security challenges associated with this technology. In these security challenges I would like to include data privacy, transparency, risk management and information security. Because of these several issues the security of cloud platform has become the hot research area for both academic and industrial research communities.
Well let’s get back to the cloud identity management systems which are quite dispersed and covers only specific security features at a time like authentication,authorization and access delegations etc. ALthough there have been so many cloud identity management systems but none of them was good enough to meet the whole requirements of IT industry which further opens up the gate for a comprehensive identity management system in the cloud. So let’s have a look at how a cloud identity as a service should look like.
Cloud identity as a service!
It is no doubt the management of identities in the cloud which are outside the organizational boundaries and applications that use them. This mostly looks like a third party management of identities including user lifecycle management and single sign on.
Hybrid solutions may also considered as a part of cloud based identity management systems. In hybrid solutions identities can be managed within organization but other components like authorization, authentication etc. are managed by external service oriented architecture. This identity as a service besides providing the desired identity management services offers almost every cloud benefit as well.This includes reduced hardware cost, easy management and multiple integration options.That is why most of the organizations today are moving on cloud these days.
Well the concept is almost clear now and let me know if you have any doubt on the topic.