Centrify® Mac Express® Alternative

Written by Ryan Squires on August 8, 2019

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Centrify provided one of the most critical IT management tools for heterogeneous computing environments with their Centrify Express® for Mac® product. This product enabled IT admins to integrate Macs with Microsoft® Active Directory® (MAD or AD). In effect, it gave admins the ability to simplify password resets and manage macOS® systems and users. However, Centrify recently discontinued the product and left many looking for a Centrify Mac Express alternative. 

AD and macOS® Devices

The reason that IT admins need to leverage non-Microsoft tools to integrate macOS devices with AD is actually pretty simple: Microsoft and Apple® have no reason to cooperate on this problem. By providing the ability to integrate Macs with AD out of the box, many users might actually pick macOS devices over Windows® systems. With more organizations utilizing Mac endpoints than ever before, Microsoft may perceive this as a threat to their dominance in the operating system (OS) space. 

Of course, that’s not Microsoft’s only stronghold. As the principal player in directory services solutions, AD is still embedded in the majority of organizations’ IT stacks. Simply put, if you’re an organization leveraging a directory service, there is a pretty strong chance that you’re using AD, hence the reason for Centrify’s Mac Express. Because Apple and Microsoft don’t see a reason to cooperate, an outside party created a solution that enabled IT admins to manage the Mac systems and users that were in their IT environments. 

Centrify’s Mac Solution

The biggest reason for the Centrify Mac Express product was to bring Mac user and system management up to par with what was already expected between AD and Windows. There are two different aspects at play here when we begin to discuss what that looks like: system management and user management. For systems, Centrify Express enabled IT admins to leverage system features like setting screen lock timers, pushing automatic OS updates, and other GPO-like functions. For user management, the biggest draw for IT admins was that Centrify enabled IT admins to create an identity in AD and have that identity work on Mac systems. It helped to centralize both user and system management. 

Unfortunately, for organizations that leaned on Centrify for their integration of Mac devices with AD, Centrify’s EOL represented a big blow to their ability to manage both Mac users and systems. So, many IT admins were forced to find a Centrify Mac Express Alternative. 

Mac User and System Management from the Cloud

For IT admins in search of a solution that can fill the hole in their identity and access management (IAM) approach left by Centrify, JumpCloud® has a solution called Active Directory Integration that can replace Centrify’s Mac Express product in your stack. With it, IT admins get the features of Centrify Express like Mac user management via Active Directory, system management with GPO-like policies, and additional features like syncing AD users to G Suite™ and Azure® AD / Office 365™.

Additionally, JumpCloud’s AD Sync feature, a subset of its Active Directory Integration, enables end users on Windows and Mac machines to change their password on the system and have it propagate out to AD. Linux users can change their password in the JumpCloud user console and expect the same result, too. Plus, users don’t even need to connect to a VPN to make password changes happen. In addition, it works the other way too, with password changes in AD going out to systems. Effectively, it’s a bi-directional integration. 

JumpCloud and AD

If you need to continue leveraging AD, JumpCloud integrates with your implementation and provide an easy way to push your AD identities out to all the resources that AD traditionally struggles to authenticate. That includes web applications like Salesforce® and Slack, cloud infrastructure from the likes of AWS® and Azure®, files on-prem and in the cloud, networking infrastructure via RADIUS, and a whole lot more.

Or, if you want to simply leverage a cloud directory, JumpCloud can serve as the source of truth for your entire organization. This frees your organization from the on-prem configuration, maintenance, and security overhead that traditionally accompanies on-prem AD implementations.  Plus, the product is continually updated, so new features are just around the corner. 

Learn More about JumpCloud

Curious about a Centrify Mac Express Alternative and how it may work in your environment? Sign up today for a demo and see how JumpCloud can adapt to your unique situation. Or, if you just want to try it out today, sign up for a free account. We throw in the first 10 users free so you can evaluate precisely how JumpCloud works for you. 

Ryan Squires

Ryan Squires is a content writer at JumpCloud, a company dedicated to connecting users to the IT resources they need securely and efficiently. He has a degree in Journalism and Media Communication from Colorado State University.

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