AWS Directory Service and JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service™ (DaaS)

Written by Greg Keller on October 22, 2014

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Late last night, the Amazon Web Services division of Amazon announced AWS Directory Service, an update to the platform’s set of services assisting administrators with user management chores on Amazon’s own Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) for Windows devices (servers and desktops via Workspaces). The announcement validates the commitment by Amazon to create better efficiencies for administrators in the historically complex world of user management, and further, that tasks like this can and should be available from the cloud. User management, and Amazon’s announcement to improve capabilities for their customers on the AWS platform, is a message and need the team at JumpCloud deeply understands and appreciates and has also more broadly tackled with the launch of our Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS) platform. JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service is a broad Identity-as-a-Service platform that goes beyond just server use management to include centralized directory services, hosted LDAP, single sign-on, RADIUS-as-a-Service, multi-factor authentication, device management, and more.

AWS Directory Service extends specific Windows user management services to the Amazon customer base by enabling administrators to control their AWS user population directly through the platform’s dashboard. The offering re-enforces the need to reduce complex, error prone processes that are currently required to provision and de-provision users on cloud infrastructure, most often through manually-driven operational procedures leveraging tools like Chef and Puppet.

Authentication and authorization of users with IT resources is an integral component of user management within the enterprise. Directory Service aims to focus on this component for its AWS customer base in addition to allowing for integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory. JumpCloud’s goal is to serve as the core user directory for an organization and as such we are working to ensure that JumpCloud can serve as a core Identity Provider (IdP) to AWS Directory Services. More on that integration shortly.

The need for managing and controlling users from a cloud-based service is now becoming clearly understood by the IT and sys admin communities with announcements by Amazon and our own with our cloud-based directory service, Directory-As-a-Service. AWS Directory Service will appeal immediately to AWS administrators as a simplification of their current user provisioning chores for that specific platform with Windows devices; a welcome and needed set of efficiencies. JumpCloud’s DaaS platform extends beyond authentication and authorization of users into more robust directory capabilities. The DaaS cross-platform approach enables administrators to integrate and manage users on AWS in exactly the same transparent fashion as they can with RackSpace, Softlayer/IBM, Digital Ocean, co-located clouds or any on-premises systems. Moreover, DaaS will enable administrators to manage users against any cross-platform server or employee device, using OSs such as Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. DaaS also pushes to deeper areas of device management beyond the establishment of users, offering policy management (similar to GPO’s) and command execution on these same devices, improving the overall manageability and security by IT admins who may not have expertise across the broad spectrum supported by DaaS.

Learn More About the JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service Platform

Amazon’s Directory Service is a positive step for its user base and the management of Windows AWS infrastructure. It is validating that major components of infrastructure, once trusted to only exist on premises, now can be efficiently managed from the cloud as a service. We invite you to talk with us about directory services and learn more about JumpCloud’s Amazon AWS integrations and our broader cross-platform capabilities. Sign up today to begin using DaaS or feel free to contact us with any questions you have.

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