Azure Active Directory – Hosted Directory Services?

Written by Natalie Bluhm on August 24, 2017

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Many think that a hosted Azure® Active Directory® (AD) equals directory services in the cloud. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Azure Active Directory is really just an adjunct to its on-prem counter-part, Microsoft® Active Directory®. Azure AD is not the next generation of Active Directory like many were hoping it would be. Instead, it still requires that you continue to have an on-prem Active Directory.  

Active Directory® Started it All

Active Directory Replacement

Active Directory came out of a time when everything was on-prem and Windows-based.  Active Directory would house an organization’s identities on-prem, and this setup would allow AD to control access to the on-prem domain including systems, applications, files servers, and additional on-prem resources. Again, this directory system worked as long as it was all Windows-based and on-prem.

The IT world is not known for remaining the same for long, and in the mid 2000’s the IT landscape experienced some significant changes. The end user began to need access to cloud-based apps, WiFi, and non-Windows® systems such as Mac® and Linux® endpoints. So, does Azure AD address these issues?

Azure® AD is Not a Complete Hosted Directory Service

azure active directory ad hosted directory service

Unfortunately, no. Azure AD ended up being a user management system for Azure and Office 365™. On-prem AD identities could be federated to Azure AD and then Azure AD would control access to Azure. Azure AD also has the concept of web application single sign-on built in. The challenge for IT admins is that Azure AD is not a complete directory service. Azure AD doesn’t connect users to WiFi, Mac and Linux endpoints, cloud servers like AWS® and Google Cloud™, and remote workers are a challenge to properly manage with Azure AD.

Modern hosted directory services need to connect users to the IT resources they need regardless of location, platform, protocol, or provider. Cloud identity management systems need to work with Mac, Linux, AWS, G Suite™ƒ, Google Cloud, and much more.

Consider our Hosted Directory Service – DaaS

JumpCloud directory-as-a-service

Our hosted directory service, Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS), might be the solution for your modern IT environment. By leveraging a myriad of protocols, users can securely gain access to the resources they need. IT can finally move their directory to the cloud while connecting their users to Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, legacy and cloud-based apps, WiFi, and cloud storage.

For a glimpse into how our virtual identity provider has optimized organizations, read how Ace Payroll centralized their IT environment and got rid of on-prem infrastructure with our hosted directory service. Please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about our Identity and Access Management solution. We also encourage you to start testing DaaS, and find out what it would be like to have a comprehensive cloud directory service in your environment. Besides, your first ten users are free forever.

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