By Megan Anderson Posted December 5, 2019
To manage systems, or not to manage systems: that is the question on many IT admins’ minds. Of course, the importance of making sure that only authorized users can access various resources is of no debate, but frequently admins are faced with deciding whether the costs involved with procuring such capabilities for a cross-platform environment are worth it. Most services require some form of manual management over systems, though there is a way to automate the process.
Traditional System Management Solutions: A Fading Legacy
Today, systems are the gateway to IT resources like servers, applications, file servers, and WiFi and VPN networks. Managing systems ensures that an organization’s assets are kept secure. Everything in their IT inventory –– software, hardware, files –– is accounted for and monitored, and there are secure backups to restore in the event of a data breach.
Historically, managing systems was easy because they were almost entirely on-prem and Windows®-based. Admins relied on tools like Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) and SCCM to manage their fleet of Windows machines, all of which utilized on-prem resources, so everything was happily contained.
However, such tools have not adapted adequately to the modern IT environment. Cloud infrastructure, cloud applications such as G Suite™ and Office 365™, and the rising application of non-Windows devices such as Mac® and Linux® –– many of which users bring into the organization themselves –– slashed the tightly woven net of on-prem infrastructure. There have been many attempts to patch over these fissures, but nothing has fully restored AD and SCCM to the glory days.
The Challenge of Managing Systems
In order to manage all these resources through Active Directory, the admin needs to curate an assortment of supplemental tools to connect users to cloud applications, infrastructure, and join Mac and Linux machines to the domain. SCCM helps with system management, but like AD, it works best for a Windows, on-prem environment. For all the resources AD and SCCM don’t work well with, admins are responsible for manually managing them. Due to these limited capabilities, organizations both big and small now struggle to justify the total cost of AD.
Ideally, admins would be able to automatically manage systems across a fleet of machines, regardless of whether they’re run on Windows, Mac, or Linux devices, using only one service. The most preferable solution also wouldn’t necessitate the implementation and maintenance of another on-prem server so as to keep in step with the global trend toward the cloud. Fortunately, there is a modern solution to help admins achieve this optimal situation.
A Modern Solution to Automate System Management
System management doesn’t have to be as much of a burden to IT departments, as the popularity of Active Directory and SCCM imply. Admins can automate system management without sacrificing their budget or time by leveraging a cloud IT management tool that provides GPO-like management across macOS®, Linux, and Windows systems.
One such cloud management tool is JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS), which allows admins to manage all three major operating systems from one platform. Through DaaS, admins can enforce policies, execute commands, manage SSH keys, and require multi-factor authentication (MFA) by checking a few boxes within the cloud admin portal. There’s no need to go through individual systems and manually set up everything the organization needs. Plus, DaaS allows users to reset their own password, so the IT department has fewer help tickets to worry about.
For those with an existing AD instance, integrating JumpCloud with AD eliminates the need to cultivate a collection of system management software. JumpCloud AD Integration extends users to macOS and Linux machines as well as non-domain bound Windows machines through a single cloud-based platform, giving admins full system management over each operating system.
Admins can provision new users in AD and then extend their access to non-domain bound resources via JumpCloud using their AD credentials. As a result, users’ AD credentials grant them access to a wider array of resources while the amount of support requests to sysadmins is reduced.