Is AD or Google IdP Better?

Written by Natalie Bluhm on February 8, 2018

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The identity provider (IdP) is a critical component to IT infrastructure. When the time comes to reevaluate your current identity management setup, there are a number of different identity providers to consider, for example Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD), Google IdP, and JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

However, not all IdPs are the same. It’s essential to understand both the capabilities of the IdP and your organization’s unique identity management needs. This lays the groundwork for you to choose an IdP that best matches your requirements. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Is AD or Google IdP better for my environment?” You’ve found the perfect blog post. Let’s take a look at the types of environments Active Directory and Google IdP are suited for.

Active Directory On-Prem Windows Environments

Is AD or Google IdP Better for an all windows environment

We all know that Active Directory has been the core directory service for most enterprise organizations over the past two decades. It is the market share leader in the legacy, on-prem identity provider category. AD can be an excellent choice for an all Windows® network and for those that are leveraging Azure® cloud services. These organizations are unable to move fully to the cloud and are forced to manage the AD instance on-premises.

Active Directory isn’t a good IdP option for organizations that heavily use Mac and Linux systems, remote servers, web-based applications, and have multiple office locations. Is Google IdP better than AD in this type of environment?

Google IdP Not a Cloud AD Replacement

Is AD or Google IdP Better for a cloud forward environment

Google IdP is a cloud identity management solution aimed at managing user accounts on Google Apps, other Google services, and a few web-based applications. Google’s approach to identity management services has been interesting because their G Suite® and Google Cloud Platform solutions are head on competitors to Microsoft services such as Office 365™ and Azure. It wouldn’t be far fetched to think that Google IdP is a replacement for Active Directory. However, this simply isn’t the case for Google IdP. In fact, they have been focused on being a complement to AD rather than a competitor.

So, what’s the answer to the question, “Is AD or Google IdP better”? The answer is neither is necessarily better. They are just different with their own goals. The better path might be figuring out what the right IdP choice is for a cloud forward organization that is leveraging a wide range of solutions, including G Suite, AWS®, Mac / Linux systems, and more.

A new generation of modern IDaaS platform called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is an excellent choice to review. As a next generation cloud directory service, this solution is a replacement for Active Directory and a complement to Google’s identity management solution, G Suite Directory.

What JumpCloud’s G Suite Integration Can Do for You

G Suite JumpCloud Integration is better than both AD and Google IdP

Based on an OAuth API, JumpCloud’s deep G Suite integration gives IT control to deprovision, provision, and manage G Suite users – all from the cloud. When JumpCloud’s G Suite integration is used with our full stack, a user’s G Suite credentials can be used to access all of their IT resources. This includes systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux), on-prem and remote servers, legacy and web-based applications, physical and virtual file storage, and wired and wireless networks.

Clearly, providing seamless access for end users is a beautiful thing in and of itself, but this also carries some fantastic implications for IT admins. For example, let’s take a look at the offboarding process. When an end user leaves the company, it only takes a couple of clicks in the JumpCloud Admin console to deprovision that user’s access from all IT resources. IT admins no longer have to waste time going down a list or wondering if they really removed all access. So, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service provides end users with frictionless access to all of their IT resources, and equips IT with secure, efficient user and system management.

Learn more about a Cloud IdP

If you still find yourself wondering, “Is AD or Google IdP better?”, please drop us a note. We’ll gladly walk you through why our cloud IdP is a more modern, comprehensive solution. Ready to start testing an alternative to Active Directory? Sign up for a free account, and gain full access to our platform. We don’t ask for a credit card number, and your first ten users are free forever.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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