Can I Replace AD with Google IDaaS?

Written by Natalie Bluhm on April 4, 2018

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As more organizations shift to Google’s G Suite™ and Google Cloud Platform™, IT organizations are searching for ways to leverage the platform more, and reduce their dependence on Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). Especially with Google’s latest play in the identity management space, many can’t help but ask, “Can I replace AD with Google IDaaS?”

To answer that question, we need to understand Microsoft and Google’s approach to identity and access management (IAM).

IAM with Microsoft Active Directory

active directory alternative

Over the last twenty years, most IT organizations have leveraged the legacy, on-prem identity management platform Microsoft Active Directory. Historically, this made a great deal of sense because their IT infrastructure was located on-prem and was largely Microsoft Windows®-based. For a while, IT admins had really effective user and system management in this Microsoft ecosystem. Then, IT resources significantly changed, and Google played a significant role.

Almost every major Microsoft offering started having an adequate competitor: Microsoft Windows was competing with Mac® and Linux® systems, Microsoft Office® had a match in G Suite™ (formerly known as Google Apps), and Gmail challenged Exchange®. Not only were these new, modern IT resources non-Microsoft based, but they were also moving to the cloud.

As IT networks utilize on-prem resources less and less, there is a desire for the on-prem identity provider to shift to the cloud as well. Could Google IDaaS be the cloud identity management solution IT admins are looking for? With G Suite having over 4 million paying customers, a cloud identity management solution from Google would be an interesting alternative.

The Facts about Google IDaaS

G Suite Google Identity Management Challenges

Unfortunately, though, Google IDaaS isn’t a replacement to AD. Google’s identity management services platform is an excellent user management system for Google Apps and a few, select web applications. Very recently, they also started offering some management capabilities for Android, iOS, and Chrome Browser devices through Google Cloud Identity. However, Google IDaaS doesn’t integrate with macOS, Windows, or Linux systems, networks, physical file storage, or LDAP-based applications – resources that are still widely used.

So, IT admins have been stuck. They are tired of leveraging Active Directory because they can’t shift it completely to the cloud, and it doesn’t connect with modern IT resources either. While Google IDaaS is a cloud solution, it also doesn’t integrate with all the IT resources users need these days. The good news is that the cloud identity provider JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is a replacement to Active Directory, and a complement to Google IDaaS or G Suite Directory too.

Replace AD with a Cloud Directory Service

G Suite JumpCloud Integration

JumpCloud integrates with virtually any IT resource regardless of where it is, who provides it, what platform it runs on, and what protocols it leverages. This enables IT admins to provide their end users with one set of credentials that they can use to access their Mac, Linux, and Windows systems, local and cloud servers, wired and WiFi networks, physical and virtual file storage, and legacy and web-based applications.

Additionally, our cloud-based directory service tightly integrates with G Suite. This tight integrations makes it possible to extend G Suite users to all of the IT resources that our directory service integrates with. IT organizations can finally move their identity management infrastructure to the cloud and maintain secure user and system management across all of their IT environment.

How to Find out More

Still asking yourself, “Can I replace AD with Google IDaaS?” Drop us a note to find out why you should start leveraging JumpCloud’s cloud-based directory service instead. Curious about how a cloud Active Directory replacement actually works? Consider watching the whiteboard video above or signing up for a free account. You’ll be able to explore all of our features, 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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