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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Users of Cloud-based Services

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 4, 2010
9:54 am

The following chart may be helpful as we consider the different types of users that should be addressed by Identity and Access Management (IAM) technology and processes in cloud computing.

CloudUsers At the Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) layers, the only users are administrators of the platform or infrastructure services, respectively.  However, these administrative users may be either on the provider side or on the recipient or enterprise side.  End users, whether within the enterprise (employees or contractors) or external to the enterprise (customers and partners), only exist at the application layer or Software as as Service (SaaS) layer.

This illustrates how cloud computing introduces increased complexity into IAM. Not only do the different layers (PaaS, IaaS and SaaS) have unique requirements, but multiple organizations (e.g. provider and enterprise) need to be considered.

For example, the nature of PaaS services will require provider administrators to have root access to the operating system, while enterprise administrators at the SaaS level may only need access to application configuration functions and external SaaS users only need to access to selected application functions.

Hopefully, this provides food for thought as we explore IAM in cloud computing.  I’d be grateful to hear your comments.

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