A Comparative Analysis of Cloud User Management: AWS vs MS Azure vs Google Cloud vs Alibaba Cloud

In the past few years, cloud computing has clearly taken the IT world by storm. Organizations move their on-prem critical workloads to the cloud instead of establishing data center infrastructure of their own. They build SaaS applications that replace the traditional, on-prem applications. However, there exists a lot of common concerns that arise while migrating data from on-prem to cloud regarding cloud user management, security, and cost of services. Every cloud provider handles the user management issues in a different way that includes different terminologies, technologies, and priority of services. Then, according to these factors, the roles and authorizations are assigned to the end-users.

Let us explore some differences between the user management services of the biggest cloud giants namely, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Alibaba.

AWS – Identity Access Management:

Amazon Web Services handles the cloud user management through Identity Access Management (IAM) that allows the users to manage aces to AWS services and resources with high-end security. IAM enables users to create and manage AWS users and groups and assign them the authority to access AWS resources through permission which either allows or deny. IAM being free of cost to include different capabilities, such as:

  • Users: This capability is used when the system encounters a human login interaction.
  • Roles: This capability is used when any service account or script interacts with the resources.

Both the IAM policies are attached to provide specific permissions to operate or view any of the other AWS services.

Suggested reading – 5 Reasons Why AWS is the Technology Businesses Need to Invest

Microsoft Azure-Role-Based Access Control (RBAC):

Microsoft Azure implements Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) System which is a process of restricting network access based on the role of the users within an enterprise. RBAC allows users to manage Azure resources by creating a security principal, which comprises 3 attributes:

  • Users: an individual pertaining to Azure Active Directory
  • Group: a group of users in Azure Active Directory
  • Service Principal: an application or service that wants to access Azure resources

The role definition process assigns a collection of permissions to the users allowing them to utilize and view resources in Azure.

Suggested reading – The rising popularity of Microsoft Azure Cloud Services: An Insight

Google Cloud Identity and Access Management (Cloud IAM):

Google’s Cloud Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is introduced to help administrators authorize the employees based on the required resources. Cloud IAM offers a unified view of security policies across the organization with built-in auditing to carry out compliance processes seamlessly. Cloud IAM includes the following attributes:

  • Google Account: any random user with a Google account associated email.
  • Service Account: an application allowed to log in through Google Cloud API
  • Google Group: Collection of Google accounts and service accounts
  • G Suite Domain: All the Google accounts belonging to a G Suite domain
  • Cloud Identity Domain: All the Google account belonging to a Non-G Suite domain.

Alibaba Cloud:

Alibaba takes care of user management through a service called Resource Access Management (RAM) that identifies users and their roles.

  • RAM User: any single real-identity that can either be a person or a service account.
  • RAM Role: any virtual identity that can be assigned to different real identities.

There can be various authorization policies attached to RAM users and roles that can have multiple permissions for each policy. Based on the permission, users can access the resources pertaining to them and are denied to access that does not belong to them.

Suggested reading – Introducing Alibaba Cloud in the Indian Market for Indian Enterprises

Benefits of User Management: With the help of effective user management, organizations can

  • Maintain their user-based license compliance with full potential.
  • Helps organization save money on software licenses
  • Have simplified auditing and reporting
  • Enhance security profiles
  • Increased productivity and reduced IT costs

Bottom-line:

The overall goal of Cloud User Management is to manage, protect and identify personal data, resources, applications, and services in a controlled manner. It plays a significant role in keeping IT resources updated and secured. The best part about cloud User Management is that any client organization can define the roles and users based on the flexibility of their enterprise solutions regardless of their vendors. If you wish to avail any cloud services from any of these vendors from a service provider, we at i2k2 Networks are always at your service. Being cloud service partners of different levels, we cater to almost all the public cloud solutions and services and offerings from these cloud giants. Contact us at +91-120-466-3031 | +91-971-177-4040 or you can even drop an email at sales@i2k2.com.