The best partnerships evolve over time and are forged with a common goal. Microsoft and Akamai have partnered for years with the common goal of delivering integrated solutions that address real customer problems. A great example is optimizing global end-user performance for cloud workloads with Akamai CDN technology embedded in the Azure platform. This creates a simple solution for a real problem. Now, Microsoft and Akamai are partnering to provide Zero Trust access for hybrid application environments.
Zero Trust Access - Hybrid is the Norm
There is no longer a need to debate the merits of moving to a Zero Trust architecture. Now, the more apt question is about "how" to make it work in practice.
While many enterprises are moving towards a cloud- and mobile-first strategy, the reality is that most enterprises have an IT infrastructure that reflects multiple generations of legacy applications and IT infrastructure decisions. And, this is not going away anytime soon. There are some modern Web apps, but there are also plenty of legacy TCP- and UDP-based apps. Despite the popularity of cloud storage solutions like Box, Dropbox or even Microsoft's Office 365 One Drive, there is still a significant install base of on-prem CIFS file services. The SAP GUI thick-client is still widely used. Additionally, despite the rapid and wide adoption of Office 365, on-prem Exchange still has a huge footprint. Finally. even within Web apps, there is a large spectrum of authentication methods used - SAML, Kerberos, NTLM, custom headers - and the list goes on. I think you get the picture.
So, let's go back to making zero trust access a reality in the reality of a hybrid world. How do you move from network-based access to granular, highly restrictive application-specific, conditional access based on identity, device trustworthiness and user context in the hybrid IT environment?
Moreover, how do you ensure you maintain zero trust access as you modernize your applications, acquire or divest new businesses or add or remove new third party vendors to help run and grow your business?
Enter the Microsoft and Akamai partnership.
Microsoft Azure AD provides a highly extensible IDaaS layer that provides a flexible, cloud-based user authentication infrastructure. Akamai Enterprise Application Access (EAA) provides granular, highly restrictive application-specific, conditional access based on identity, device trustworthiness that supports the full spectrum of the hybrid application landscape - modern Web, legacy Web, TCP, UDP, etc.
In other words, Azure AD provides strong authentication and fronts Akamai EAA. Akamai EAA then provides granular authorization - for Web, TCP, UDP and the overall hybrid application landscape, whether the apps are on-prem or in Azure, or other IaaS platforms. The result is the user gets more out of Azure AD and extends it well beyond SaaS. It works in the current hybrid application landscape, and will continue to work in the future.
On top of this, Akamai EAA's unique identity-aware proxy enables you to insert Akamai's Cloud WAF inline with Web workloads to protect against application exploits. Plus, you can also insert Akamai's performance solutions for Web and non-Web to deliver a better user experience globally. Add Akamai Enterprise Threat Protector (ETP) and you now also can protect end-user devices from advanced threats and data exfiltration.
Read about how Akamai is a Leader in the 2019 Forrester Wave for Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem Platform Providers