By Vince Lujan Posted April 27, 2018
As the IT landscape continues to change rapidly, understanding the tools that can address your organization’s needs is critical. For example, Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) has been the preferred directory services platform in most IT organizations for nearly twenty years – but is AD still the best solution for modern networks? It’s an important question, especially as more non-Windows® IT resources come to market. For that reason, we have decided to offer an Active Directory review for the modern IT admin, but we should provide some context first.
Review of Active Directory
Active Directory is Microsoft’s on-prem directory services platform. Released in 1999, it was designed to securely manage and connect users to on-prem Windows-based IT resources such as systems, applications, files, and networks. At the time, enterprise IT environments were basically on-prem networks consisting of Windows-based IT resources. As a result, AD (along with the domain controller) ended up creating a single sign-on approach of sorts for Windows-based systems and applications. Naturally, AD flourished in this on-prem, Windows-centric IT environment.
Is Active Directory Right for You?
As the IT network started to change and morph, with the arrival of a wide variety of non-Windows and cloud resources, admins began to wonder if Active Directory would be able to keep up. This is why it is critical for admins to do an Active Directory review. Take stock of your IT infrastructure and match up with whether Active Directory can support your needs moving forward.
Some critical questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have cloud infrastructure hosted at AWS®, Google Compute Platform™, or Azure®?
- How do you manage access to cloud infrastructure?
- What percentage of your systems are Windows-based, and what are Mac® and Linux®?
- How do you manage Mac and Linux systems and users?
- How do you manage your non-Windows on-prem and web applications?
- Do you leverage MFA or 2FA for any of your systems or applications?
- How do you lock down WiFi access and what role does AD play in that?
- Do you have non-Windows based file servers that need to be managed?
Depending upon your answers to the questions above, you may quickly realize that Active Directory no longer plays the central role in your identity management approach as it once did. The good news is that there is a new cloud directory service that is reimagining Active Directory for the modern, cloud era.
Active Directory Reimagined
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service securely manages and connects users to their systems, applications, files, and networks. What sets the JumpCloud platform apart from AD is its support for heterogeneous system environments that include Windows, Mac, and Linux, cloud and on-prem applications, physical and virtual storage, and on-prem or WiFi networks. Of course, these are just a few examples. The short of it is that JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is the best thing to happen to directory services since Active Directory, which is why JumpCloud has enabled so many IT organizations to leave AD behind in favor of a comprehensive cloud directory.
We hope this Active Directory review was helpful. Sign up for a free account to explore the full functionality of the JumpCloud platform at no cost. Join today and get 10 free users forever. You can also contact the JumpCloud team or schedule a demo if you have any questions.