By Vince Lujan Posted April 27, 2018
IT admins know that endpoint management is critical in the modern enterprise. The challenge has been that traditional endpoint management tools have historically focused on Microsoft® Windows® based systems. Yet, modern system environments include Windows, Mac®, and Linux®. Add to that, the fact that many IT organizations want to eliminate their on-prem identity management infrastructure altogether, and it’s easy to understand why so many IT admins want to implement a cloud endpoint management alternative.
This blog post discusses a new cloud endpoint management alternative, called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, that can seamlessly manage disparate endpoints and their users from the cloud. However, we should describe traditional endpoint management tools first.
Traditional Endpoint Management Tools
As previously noted, traditional endpoint management tools have generally been tailored for Windows-based endpoints. Of course, historically, this has made a lot of sense because Windows-based endpoints made up the vast majority of enterprise networks. As a result, Microsoft endpoint management solutions such as SCCM™ (formerly SMS) and Active Directory® (AD) were effectively the only endpoint management tools required to manage enterprise systems.
Active Directory has been especially popular with IT organizations, primarily due to how easy it is to deploy Group Policy Objects (GPOs). GPOs enable IT admins to manage policies on Windows-based endpoints remotely by checking off a few boxes in the AD admin portal. The key advantage is that GPOs allow IT admins to manage fleets of Windows-based endpoints from one centralized identity and access management (IAM) solution. Otherwise, IT would have to administer systems locally and on an individual basis.
Obviously, GPOs and Active Directory offered a huge advantage for IT organizations – especially in the early days. However, IT admins know all too well that endpoint management with AD isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The main issue is that modern system environments are heterogeneous. In other words, they include Windows, Mac, and Linux endpoints. Yet, not surprisingly, Microsoft is mostly interested in providing support for Windows.
Of course, there are plenty of third-party add-ons that can integrate with on-prem directory services platforms. Their purpose is to extend AD identities to non-Windows resources – including Mac and Linux endpoints. Some of them can even offer GPO-like capabilities for non-Windows endpoints. However, this approach adds significant cost and management overhead that is inherent to implementing multiple identity management solutions, not to mention IT admins will still need AD on-prem.
It’s easy to understand why this approach is so unattractive for IT admins. After all, the last thing they want to do is add cost and complexity to their organization – especially if it further entrenches them on-prem with antiquated solutions. Ideally, IT admins would be able to reduce cost and complexity while eliminating their on-prem identity management infrastructure in favor of a comprehensive cloud-based solution. This is achievable with the JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform.
The Directory-as-a-Service Endpoint Management Alternative
The JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform is essentially the holy grail for IT organizations. This is because the JumpCloud platform empowers IT admins to manage virtually any IT resource from the cloud, including Windows, Mac, and Linux endpoints and a lot more. This means that IT admins are free to choose the best resources for the organization, rather than being forced into a solution that can be managed with AD.
JumpCloud can even offer cross-platform GPO-like capabilities that are effectively Active Directory GPOs reimagined for modern system environments. In other words, IT admins can remotely manage system policies on disparate fleets of endpoints from one centralized IAM platform in the cloud that doesn’t require anything on-prem.
The best part is that managing endpoints from the cloud is but one feature of the of overall JumpCloud offering. Contact the JumpCloud team or schedule a demo to discover additional use cases. You can also sign up for a free account and check out our cloud endpoint management alternative in action. In fact, you can explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost, and your first 10 users are free forever. Check us out today!