We are currently running Jira, Confluence and Stash. We're considering using Crowd to help manage user access, but after trying it out on our test system, I'm not seeing any advantage or increased functionality to how we are currently managing access. Am I missing something?
Crowd provides single point to manage user authentication for all Atlassian products and any other custom tools you may have. Perhaps the biggest benefit is SSO (Single Sign on). This cuts out the need to login multiple times to the various tools. In addition to this, Crowd can tie in multiple authentication sources using directories to appear as one to the Atlassian tool set.
In terms of authentication, you can define who can access the application, within Crowd. See the authorisation tab in https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/CROWD/Adding+an+Application#AddinganApplication-add
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