Active Directory® for MSPs?

By Ryan Squires Posted January 4, 2019

AD for Managed Service Providers

Is there a version of Active Directory® tuned for Managed Service Providers (MSPs)? The quick answer is no. Of course, MSPs can leverage Microsoft® Active Directory®  (AD or MAD) straight out of the box, but the challenge is that this solution is not really designed for MSPs. What we mean by that is, ultimately, if MSPs are interested in managing Active Directory for their clients, they need to implement an Active Directory instance on an individual, per client basis. Clearly, this is a far from an ideal scenario when you consider MSPs often have clients all over the world.

Searching for AD Remote Management

Of course, managing multiple clients and their individual AD implementations is both time consuming and tedious. That’s why many MSPs are looking to the cloud to deliver their directory services. The most popular of these is the traditional directory, Active Directory, which requires on-prem hardware and software coupled with ongoing maintenance—and that’s just one piece of the puzzle. In order to connect AD to the cloud, add-ons, like web application SSOs, identity bridges, cloud infrastructure access management (AWS®, GCE), multi-factor authentication (MFA) and more, each contribute to complete the overall picture.

So, the result is on-site, break/fix situations for MSPs. And, because of all those add-ons, software failure is often not far off. With that in mind, it is easy to see why MSPs want to shift their businesses to remote management services and avoid all the time-consuming, on-site management required in the past. It’s now a matter of saving time, and frankly, sanity.

Further, because MSPs generally service multiple clients at any given time, they want to be able to manage their clients from a single interface. That’s really important in their field because it can be difficult to wade through all the different IT resources each client uses. Clients never have the same exact setup, so keeping all their processes and information straight can present quite the challenge. In keeping with centralized management, it would be much easier for MSPs to control their clients’ users via a single platform rather than multiple identity and access management tools. As well, a benefit for individual users can be the reduction in managing upwards of 191 passwords? There must be an easier way for both MSPs and end users.

Alternative to Active Directory for MSPs

AD alternative MSPs

The good news is that there is an alternative to the legacy, on-prem Active Directory for MSPs. And, it isn’t Microsoft Azure® Active Directory. Azure is simply a complement to on-prem AD, as evidenced by comments made by a Microsoft representative in this Spiceworks thread. Azure AD acts as an identity store for Azure (Microsoft’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform) and select web applications. The solution we’re talking about is JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Directory-as-a-Service provides MSPs with the number one thing that could help them save time, which is remote control and management over their client’s IT infrastructure. The remote solution is an Active Directory alternative that has specific functionality for MSPs including a Multi-Tenant Portal so MSPs can view and manage all of their clients from a central location. No more traveling to sites to fix aging Windows Server implementations when they fail. Now, MSPs have the power to manage systems, file servers, cloud infrastructure, web applications, and so much more from a single location. Plus, with True Single Sign-On™, virtually all a user’s resources can be accessed via a single set of credentials.

John Abbott, Managing Director of Priority One, an MSP headquartered in London says, “It’s about doing more with less, which is a term that I don’t love, but it is true. With JumpCloud, you can start serving more clients for the same costs as before. What it was costing you to manage 30 users, you can now accomplish for a hundred, and that’s the benefit.”  With time being your most precious commodity, JumpCloud can help you save significantly and focus on what matters most instead.

Learn More About JumpCloud for MSPs

JumpCloud partners program for MSPs

If you’re ready to embrace time savings and find a next generation Active Directory for MSPs with something much more cloud-forward, sign up for our Partner Program. Once you’ve applied, a member of our Partner team will follow up with you to determine how JumpCloud can help move clients to the cloud, strengthen your cloud security offering, and increase your operational efficiency. Additionally, check out our Multi-Tenant Portal and see how centralized control can benefit your organization today.

Ryan Squires

Ryan Squires is a content writer at JumpCloud, a company dedicated to connecting users to the IT resources they need securely and efficiently. He has a degree in Journalism and Media Communication from Colorado State University.

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