Managing Client Networks: Cloud Domain Controller

Written by Zach DeMeyer on December 10, 2018

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A major part of a managed service provider’s (MSP) role is to run and manage their clients’ networks. As a result, MSPs must make a very important decision: what are the best tools to use in order to operate and manage client networks? A key part of that decision is determining how to connect users to the IT resources they need, a task traditionally achieved by using a domain controller. The traditional domain controller, however, struggles to connect with modern cloud resources. For today’s IT networks, consider managing your clients’ networks with a cloud domain controller instead.

Domain Controller Considerations

What to consider when choosing a domain controller

There are two critical functions for MSPs to evaluate when considering their domain controller. The first is whether an identity management platform can connect their client’s users to the IT resources they need. This consideration also raises the question of what resources clients choose to use. An ideal domain controller should connect to resources regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location. The second deciding factor is whether the IAM solution can be managed from one pane of glass in a multi-tenant fashion from the cloud. Such a feature ensures that MSPs can be highly efficient, avoiding lost time spent on truck rolls between clients.

MSP Domain Controllers: A History

A history of domain controllers

Traditionally, MSPs have leveraged Microsoft® Active Directory® through the on-prem Windows® Server platform to serve as their identity provider and domain controller. For Windows-based environments, the solution worked well. End users could login to their machine, and then be granted access to other Windows on-prem resources almost instantly.

All good things come to an end, and Active Directory’s hold on the market is no different. The IT landscape has shifted to the cloud. Non-Windows resources such as G Suite™, AWS®, web applications, Mac®/Linux® systems, and more hit the marketplace. Windows-focused and grounded on-prem, the legacy AD domain controller approach started to break down in the face of the cloud. On top of that, AD’s on-prem nature added another challenge for MSPs: they didn’t want to have to send their technicians out to each and every client site when there was a problem or support request. This model, known as break-fix, had become commonplace for MSPs, but its inherent inefficiency had started to take its toll.

Managing Client Networks with a Cloud Domain Controller

MSPs clearly needed a new domain controller. With more and more clients adopting cloud applications, Macs and Linux systems, G Suite and Office 365™, etc., Active Directory simply wasn’t enough. An ideal domain controller for MSPs could authorize access to these resources, as well as alleviate the burden of managing multiple client instances by centralizing it into a single console.

Recently, a new concept for MSPs has emerged in the identity management arena. The cloud domain controller is eliminating the need for an on-prem identity provider. One in particular, called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, is a cloud identity management gamechanger for MSPs. As a cloud domain controller, JumpCloud federates user access to virtually all IT resources (systems, apps, networks, infrastructure, etc.), regardless of platform, provider, protocol, or location. On top of world class identity management, JumpCloud also offers a Multi-Tenant Portal designed specifically for MSPs, allowing them to manage multiple client networks from one pane of glass.

Interested in a Cloud Domain Controller?

If you would like to begin managing your clients’ networks with a cloud domain controller, look no further than JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. You can try Directory-as-a-Service today, absolutely free, with ten users included to get you started. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

About JumpCloud’s Partner Program

JumpCloud partners program for MSPs

JumpCloud’s Partner Program empowers MSPs with central identity management from the cloud. Fine-tuned for MSPs with cloud security offerings and/or clients moving to the cloud, Directory-as-a-Service can be easily bundled at the center of any product stack to make customers more secure, efficient, and scalable. Make Work Happen™ for your clients while improving the bottom line for your business.

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