Cloud Directory Feature AD Extension

Written by Natalie Bluhm on May 24, 2018

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The IAM (identity and access management) market is in a state of rapid change. Considering the constant flood of new IT resources, like web applications and Mac systems, it’s not surprising IAM is changing as fast as it is. The challenge is how to connect all of those new IT resources to the age-old identity provider, Microsoft® Active Directory®. One solution many IT admins are turning to is the cloud directory feature AD extension. Also known as an identity bridge, this AD extension is bridging Active Directory with non-Windows IT resources.

To fully understand how helpful a solution like this can be, we need to take a closer look at the changes that are occuring within the IT landscape, and why it has been a challenge for Active Directory to keep up.

Modern IT’s Impact on Active Directory

Modern IT and AD

Over the last decade, the IT landscape has changed dramatically. Instead of an all Windows®  network, companies are now leveraging Mac® and Linux® systems, AWS® cloud servers, web applications, cloud and on-prem file storage systems, and WiFi networks. Oh, and let’s not forget mobile users with smartphones.

All of these changes have put tremendous pressure on the legacy identity management solution Active Directory because AD simply wasn’t created to integrate with cloud-based, non-Microsoft resources. AD has been the go-to choice for an identity provider over the last two decades, so Active Directory’s struggles have not gone unnoticed. Some organizations are at a good point where they can completely eliminate AD in favor of a more agnostic, cloud-based directory service. Other organizations aren’t able to completely abandon their on-prem AD infrastructure because it’s too entrenched in their environment. Subsequently, many have started using a new identity management bridge to connect AD identities to non-Windows and cloud IT resources.

The concept is to leverage the cloud directory feature AD extension. This cloud directory feature allows AD to remain the source of truth, while enabling identities to be federated out to non-Windows IT solutions such as Mac and Linux systems, cloud infrastructure, web applications, Samba file servers and NAS appliances, and WiFi networks. This means IT admins can still leverage their AD identities, and they can also regain control of the rest of their IT infrastructure at the same time.

So, what is the name of this solution? This cloud identity management solution goes by the name of JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it can support IT organizations within their efforts to connect AD to the cloud with ease. This modern cloud directory can not only serve as the next generation directory service (thus eliminating the need for AD), but can also serve as a complement to AD by bridging identities to the cloud, Mac and Linux systems, and more.

JumpCloud – An AD Replacement and an AD Extension

Our cloud identity provider integrates with virtually all of your IT resources, whether they are Microsoft-based and on-prem or in the cloud and based off of a variety of protocols, platforms and providers. What this means for IT admins is that they can completely eliminate Active Directory and gain centralized user access to the following: systems (Mac, Linux, and Windows), cloud and local servers, web-based and legacy applications, virtual and on-prem file storage, and wired and WiFi networks.

However, if you’re in a stage where you are not ready to entirely remove your on-prem Active Directory infrastructure, the AD Integration feature might be what you’re looking for. One half of AD Integration, called AD Import, allows you to keep your existing AD setup and extend AD user identities to non AD bound IT resources like Mac systems, Linux servers, web-based applications, and more.

The other half of AD Integration is AD Sync. This premium feature writes passwords from non-domain resources back to Active Directory, creating a bi-directional sync between AD and JumpCloud/JumpCloud-managed resources.

Whether you’re ready to go all cloud, or just want to be able to securely take advantage of some of the latest technology, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Find Out More About the Cloud Directory Feature AD Extension

jumpcloud learn more demo

To learn more about the cloud directory feature AD extension, consider scheduling a free personalized demo of JumpCloud. If you’re curious enough to start testing our cloud identity bridge, sign up for a free account. You will have full access to the platform, and your first ten users are free forever. If you’d prefer to talk to someone, drop us a note. We’ll gladly answer any questions you might have.

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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