SCIM: Simplified identity data exchange for the modern IT world

Today, we find ourselves in an ever-changing digital ecosystem of mobile access, cloud services and enterprise-wide applications. Sounds pretty complex, right? This is where the System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) comes to the rescue! This clever tool automates and simplifies the exchange of identity information between disparate IT applications and systems.

The new world of digital access

As our work models evolve and new technologies emerge all the time, IT security is no longer tied to a fixed location or address. Managing who can access enterprise applications and data in a company’s own data center or in the cloud, when, where and with which device is becoming increasingly challenging. One of the biggest challenges here is the secure management of digital identities. With SCIM, we can guarantee that only authorized persons can complete transactions.

SCIM in action

When companies hire or fire employees, the changes show up in their internal directory or identity management system. Thanks to SCIM, we can automatically integrate these changes into external systems like web portals, Amazon AWS or Salesforce.

But there’s more! SCIM can also be used to share information about user attributes and group memberships. This means you have detailed control over sharing of identity data and associated user permissions.

The growing importance of SCIM

As enterprises increasingly rely on SaaS tools and cloud-based services, SCIM is becoming more important. Large enterprises have hundreds or even thousands of hosted applications and servers that require user provisioning. Without SCIM, they would have to write specific software connectors to connect these systems to their IAM system – a costly and time-consuming task.

Thanks to the application-level HTTP protocol, SCIM enables unified management of identity data on the Web and in cross-domain environments.

An overview of SAML 2.0, OAuth 2.0, SCIM 2.0 and OpenID Connect

In the modern identity management space, there are many standards and protocols, all of which play a critical role in IT security. Here’s a brief overview:

  • SAML 2.0: A security protocol for exchanging authentication and authorization data between parties.
  • OAuth 2.0: A protocol for delegated authorization.
  • SCIM 2.0: A standard for automated identity management.
  • OpenID Connect: An authentication layer for OAuth 2.0.

Summary & Outlook

In today’s world, companies are increasingly turning to new technologies and working models. Supporting standards and protocols such as SCIM are essential for efficient identity and access management.

Our products are compliant with these standards and are used by one of Germany’s largest IT service providers, T-Systems, among others. Learn more in our case study!

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Technical implementation by internet agency aceArt.