By Ryan Squires Posted December 7, 2018
Is there a cheaper alternative to JumpCloud® in the identity and access management (IAM) market? With demand for cloud directory services growing daily, IT admins are constantly on the lookout for more cost-effective solutions. We understand that expenses represent a large portion of the decision making process, but it is important to take a step back and understand the goals of what you are trying to accomplish and the value of those initiatives to you. Today we’re going to look at the possibility of cheaper alternatives to JumpCloud.
IAM Confusion, Needs, and JumpCloud
The identity management sector has remained active and the solutions contained within can confuse even those who are well versed in the industry. There exists solutions in every area of identity management from the identity provider (IdP), to single sign-on (SSO) solutions, and governance and many more. Each of these solutions promises the world; each claims it can do everything that an organization may need. That is where confusion for IT admins lies.
To help focus on what is most important to an organization, it is critical to outline the key requirements for your IT environment. In doing so, IT professionals can take inventory of what is currently in the environment as well as keeping an eye to the future and remaining cognizant of resources you may want to leverage down the road. Make sure to ask yourself, “What are the goals that the organization has with respect to their identities and connecting users to IT resources?”
JumpCloud plays in the core of the IAM market, namely directory services. The easiest comparisons are OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft® Active Directory® (MAD or AD). Now, the challenge is that many other parts of the identity management sector claim to act as a directory, which requires evaluation from the IT admin to determine whether that is true and if the solution is viable. Sometimes a given solution looks good at first glance, but when configuration, maintenance, add-ons, and security get factored in, that solution loses its luster.
Free Doesn’t Mean Cheaper Alternative
When it comes to directory services, the options are open source solutions that are theoretically free, and bundled solutions like Active Directory, which also claim to be free. Unfortunately, the actual costs to run an on-prem identity provider can be misleading. While at first glance there doesn’t appear to be costs on the software, we know that that software needs to run on something. Here comes the rub.
Open source solutions require hardware, security, load balancing, data center space, and most importantly, IT time. Add all those costs together and the open source solution isn’t free any longer. The on-prem, commercial market share leader, Active Directory, is also subject to a number of costs even beyond those from the previous example. AD costs are like a glacier, there is usually more under the surface than you may see at first; our Total Cost of Ownership of Active Directory Webinar expounds on that idea. For one, AD is “free” is because it comes bundled together with Windows Server, which isn’t free. These costs can also include Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), identity bridges for Mac® and Linux® endpoints, recurring Windows® licensing costs, event logging or governance tools, and more. Unfortunately, there is a number of hidden costs that aren’t quite apparent until you do a little digging.
Other potentially cheaper alternatives to JumpCloud could be manual user management, or using the embedded user management systems included with G Suite™ or Office 365™. As IT admins will quickly realize, the decision to manually manage user access or leverage embedded functionality does not help IT organizations achieve their goals of comprehensive control over user access to a wide range of It resources. With these methods, the ability to remotely manage and automate system management is a mere dream. So, while it may initially cost less to go this route, IT admins may find themselves needing additional solutions to to do what they need for security and access control.
Scalable Solutions for Every Need
For some organizations, a cheaper alternative to JumpCloud’s Pro version may simply be JumpCloud’s One Protocol solution. For those that may only need LDAP, SAML, or RADIUS support, the One Protocol solution can equate to significant cost savings. For others that may require the the full-featured breadth of JumpCloud’s Pro version, understanding the value of the various components helps to ensure that the organization is gaining significant value from the cloud-hosted directory service. In short, it is important to realize that Directory-as-a-Service® enables access to a variety of protocols, ensures strong system management Policies, provides quick employee provisioning and deprovision, and much more from a single interface with no additional servers or implementation work needing to occur on-prem.
Not a JumpCloud Customer?
If you’re considering a cheaper Alternative to JumpCloud, be sure to look at our pricing page for additional information on how you can scale the Directory-as-a-Service solution to fit the ever-evolving needs of your organization. If you just want to try it out, sign up for a free account that enables the full-featured version of our product. With that same account you can utilize a single protocol to see how JumpCloud can fit your specific needs. Additionally, check out our blog for more information or the Knowledge Base to help you get your account up and running.