Cloud Directory Feature Windows® Device Management

Written by Natalie Bluhm on April 3, 2018

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According to the recent State of the Cloud Survey from Rightscale, 81% of enterprises have some sort of strategy to leverage public and private cloud solutions. As companies continue to utilize the cloud more and more, many IT organizations are interested in shifting the directory service to the cloud as well. However, in order to move the on-prem directory service to the cloud, there are a number of features that need to be in place. One of the core capabilities is the cloud directory feature Windows® device management.

What are IT admins looking for in a cloud directory feature for Windows device management? To answer that, we need to take a brief look at the history of directory services and the tools IT organizations have used in the past to manage Windows devices.

Windows Device Management in the Good Old Days

old office

As we know, for nearly the past two decades the on-prem directory service leader has been Microsoft® Active Directory®. AD was introduced in 1999 when the world was largely Windows-based and on-prem, and it was warmly received. What many didn’t know was that Microsoft was simultaneously leveraging AD to further lock-in their customers to Windows solutions. However, by letting Microsoft subsume their environment, IT admins achieved effective control over the users and systems in their environment.

This effective control had a lot to do with a core AD capability called Group Policy Objects (GPOs). Using GPOs, IT admins were able to set policies across their entire Windows fleet. These policies were great for enforcing security policies and mapping drives, printers, and file servers to end users. IT admins could also leverage their own PowerShell scripts to execute custom tasks.

This approach to Windows user and system management worked well for a number of years. But, many changes in IT infrastructure have put pressure on the on-prem identity provider.

The Need for a New Approach in Identity Management

active directory device management alternative

The bulk of these changes have included moving to new resources like web applications, cloud infrastructure hosted at AWS®, Mac® and Linux® machines, virtual storage solutions such as Box, and physical file servers such as NAS appliances and Samba file servers. Active Directory wasn’t built to integrate with these cloud-based non-Microsoft IT resources, so there is a growing need for a new identity provider. A modern approach to identity management needs to be able to connect with new resources, but also offer GPO-like capabilities to manage devices.  

The good news is that there is a modern cloud directory that can not only manage Windows devices, but also Mac and Linux machines. Whether you prefer to script commands yourself or use templated policies, optimizing and securing your mix of Mac, Linux, and Windows devices has never been easier with a solution called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Mac, Linux, and Windows Device Management with JumpCloud

cross-platform device management

JumpCloud Policy Management enables IT admins to dictate system behavior across a group of systems. For example, across Mac, Linux, and Windows devices, IT admins can set a policy to disable USB storage devices – all from the same pane of glass. Additionally, when the time comes to execute tasks across a fleet of systems, JumpCloud Commands makes it possible to efficiently carry them out. In fact, JumpCloud Commands allowed Grab to patch 4,000 machines in 90 minutes. However, Mac and Linux system management, and the cloud directory feature Windows device management, is just the beginning of what IT organizations can do with JumpCloud.

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service can not only connects users to the system of their choice, but also provides frictionless access to legacy applications like Jira®, web-based applications such as Salesforce®, virtual files in Box, on-prem file storage like NAS appliances, and wired and WiFi networks.

This cloud identity provider is truly a modern alternative to Active Directory that is created to adapt to your IT environment. This approach means you’ll be able to centralize device and identity management in a way that fits your unique use case.

Find Out More about the Cloud Directory Feature Windows Device Management

Ready to find out more about the cloud directory feature windows device management? Sign up for a demo or for a free account. In a demo, you’ll be able to see the platform in action as a JumpCloud team member shows you how to use the cloud-based directory service. If you’re more interested in exploring the product on your own, the free account is perfect for you. You’ll be able to test all of JumpCloud’s features, and your first ten users are free forever. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to drop us note.  

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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