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Cloud Computing - ldentity-as-a-Service

Overview Employees in a company require to login into system to perform various tasks. These systems may be based on local server or cloud based. Following are the problems that an employee might face:
  • Remembering different username and password combinations for accessing multiple servers.
  • If an employee leaves the company, it's required to ensure that each of the user's account has been disabled.
    This increases workload on IT staff.
To solve above problems, a new technique emerged which is known as Identity as a Service (IDaaS).

IDaaS offers management of identity (information) as a digital entity. This identity can be used during electronic transactions.


Identity refers to set of attributes associated with something and make it recognizable. All objects may have same attributes, but their identity cannot be the same. This unique identity is assigned through unique identification attribute.

There are several identity services that have been deployed to validate services such as validating web sites, transactions, transaction participants, client, etc. Identity as a Service may include the following:
  • Directory Services
  • Federated Services
  • Registration
  • Authentication Services
  • Risk and Event monitoring
  • Single sign-on services
  • Identity and Profile management
Single Sign-On (SSO)

To solve the problem of using different username & password combination for different servers, companies now employ Single Sign-On software, which allows the user to login only one time and manages the user's access to other systems.

SSO has single authentication server, managing multiple accesses to other systems,


There are several implementations of SSO. Here, we will discuss the common working of SSO:

Following steps explain the working of Single Sign-On software:

1. User logs into the authentication server using a username and password.
2. The authentication server returns the user's ticket.
3. User sends the ticket to intranet server.
4. Intranet server sends the ticket to the authentication server.
5. Authentication server sends the user's security credentials for that server back to the intranet server.

If an employee leaves the company, then it just required to disable the user at the authentication server, which in turn disables the user's access to all the systems.

Federated Identity Management (FIDM)

FIDM describes the technologies and protocols that enable a user to package security credentials across security domains. It uses Security Markup Language (SAML) to package a user's security credentials as shown in the following diagram:


It offers users to login into multiple websites with single account. Google, Yahoo!, Flickr, MySpace, are some of the companies that support OpenID.

  • Increased site conversation rates.
  • Access to greater user profile content.
  • Fewer problems with lost passwords.
  • Ease of content integration into social networking sites.
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