Cloud Directory Feature Windows® User Management

Written by Natalie Bluhm on February 26, 2018

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The cloud directory is breaking new ground in the identity and access management world. Traditionally, the directory service has lived on-prem, but as the identities and IT resources move to the cloud, the identity provider is making the leap to the cloud as well. This shift has IT admins wondering about the cloud directory feature of Windows® user management.

First we’ll take a look at the history directory services and Windows user management. Then we’ll take a look at why IT admins are looking for a cloud directory to take over their Windows user management. Finally, we’ll show you an example of this feature in action in a cloud directory.

Microsoft® Windows Monopolizes the Office

old office

Between 1986 and 1990, there was a huge surge of businesses that realized that personal computers could help eliminate time consuming manual tasks and therefore increase productivity. In a matter of years, many workplaces went from having no computers to almost every employee having a personal computer on their desk.

In the 1990’s, created the Windows Operating System. Microsoft Windows offered new features that made it easier for users and businesses to complete their work, and for years to come,  Microsoft Windows would hold 95% of the desktop operating system market share. When Microsoft was at the height of their dominance in 1999, they released Active Directory®.  Active Directory was introduced to capitalize on their market share advantage and further lock-in their customers with a user management system.

Active Directory helped create, delete, and modify user access to Windows systems, applications, files, and networks. Not only did Microsoft have a hand in personal computers and directory services, but they also had great success with email, productivity solutions, and their own line of servers. In an environment that used all of these Microsoft products, Active Directory worked very well; IT organizations had great visibility and control over their environment. The result was that Microsoft owned the identity management space for a number of years. Of course, Microsoft also made it more difficult to connect non-Windows IT resources to Active Directory. So, IT’s desire to maintain a well managed enterprise IT environment perpetuated the monopoly of Active Directory and other Microsoft products, including Microsoft Windows.

The Office is Moving Away from Microsoft

Now, though, the IT landscape is changing. Windows is no longer as dominant as it was. Mac and Linux machines are incredibly popular. G Suite® and AWS are a part of millions of IT networks. Windows File Servers are being replaced with Samba file servers, NAS appliances, and cloud storage solutions.

Much like Microsoft helped increase productivity in the 1990’s, these new non-Microsoft resources come with tremendous benefits. From lower costs and faster performance to helping users increase efficiency, these new apps and new file storage and network options have had a significant impact on the workplace. For example, a study conducted by Oracle found that, “72% of businesses believe Infrastructure-as-a-Service makes it easier to innovate.”

The result of all of these changes is that IT admins are shifting to a platform-independent, cloud-based directory service.

A cloud-based directory service integrates with these modern resources, and allows organizations to take advantage of them without compromising on secure identity management. This is why IT admins are moving on from their legacy identity provider. This modern cloud identity management solution is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Cloud-based Directory Service Feature Windows User Management

By leveraging JumpCloud as their cloud identity provider, IT organizations are connecting users to the IT resources they need regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location. IT not only gains Windows user management from the cloud, but they are also able to secure and manage Mac and Linux users. This modern approach to directory services can tightly manage Windows, Mac, and Linux users in a manner similar to Group Policy Objects.

Comprehensive user management is just the beginning of what IT can accomplish with JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, though. IT admins can also centralize user access to local and remote servers; legacy and web-based applications; physical and virtual file storage; and wired and wireless networks. Modern organizations can finally connect to modern resources, and IT can maintain a secure, optimized environment.

Learn more about our Windows User Management

Watch the whiteboard video above to learn more about the architecture behind Policies.

For more information about our cloud directory feature Windows user management drop us a note. We’d love to answer any questions you may have or even walk you through a live demonstration of how our cloud directory works. Of course, you are more than welcome to test all of our features for yourself by signing up for a free account. 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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