Cloud IAM Feature Active Directory® Integration For Mac®

By Vince Lujan Posted August 23, 2019

Mac® systems such as laptops and desktops have become a common sight in the modern office. Yet, for many IT organizations, Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) has remained the core identity provider (IdP) or directory services platform. 

Managing Mac systems with Active Directory presents a number of challenges for IT admins. Perhaps the most imposing is the fact that Microsoft never designed AD to support Mac systems on the same level as Windows® systems. 

Consequently, IT admins generally require additional third-party tooling to connect Mac systems to Active Directory. The good news is that there are powerful cloud IAM tools available that feature an Active Directory Integration for Mac and more.

Mac Management with Active Directory

Mac management has always been an interesting challenge for IT admins. Mac systems are often outliers in an IT landscape that has historically been dominated by Windows. 

While Apple® has built significant inroads into the enterprise system market with MacBooks and iMacs, it’s difficult to beat Microsoft at their own game. Essentially, the dominance of Windows reinforces the use of Microsoft management tools such as Active Directory. In turn, the power of the AD platform in Windows environments reinforces the use of Windows systems and applications. 

This self-reinforcing cycle is actually quite brilliant. Unfortunately for modern IT organizations, the Microsoft system wasn’t built to support Mac management. The end result is that IT admins often require additional third-party tooling to connect Mac systems to Active Directory. 

Directory Extensions for Mac

Initially, IT organizations leveraged add-on solutions such as Centrify® Express to extend Active Directory identities to Mac and Linux® systems. Connecting AD to Mac and Linux systems was essentially Centrify’s claim to fame in the early 2000s. 

Today, Centrify Express is approaching end of life (EOL) and IT admins are searching for an alternative from the cloud. Fortunately, there are a few modern alternatives available. 

However, IT admins are realizing that Mac management is only one of many identity management challenges with modern IT networks. They are also coming to realize that the root of the problem is an aging on-prem identity provider that was designed exclusively for use with Windows. 

Still, sometimes eliminating the Microsoft’s legacy platform simply isn’t an option. Of course, this is where a cloud IAM tool featuring an Active Directory Integration for Mac would be highly beneficial. 

Active Directory Integration with JumpCloud®

The good news is that a new solution called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® has emerged that can integrate with Active Directory and extend AD identities to virtually any IT resource. Specifically, with respect to Mac and Linux, JumpCloud offers an Active Directory Integration feature, which includes the AD Import and AD Sync agents.

AD Import is used to extend traditional user identities from the AD platform to JumpCloud-managed systems that are not bound to the AD domain, such as Macbooks and iMacs, as well as cloud applications managed through JumpCloud. The AD Sync utility can then be used to sync passwords from unbound Mac systems back to AD. 

As a result, IT organizations can keep their existing Active Directory infrastructure in place and leverage JumpCloud to make system management easier for Mac and Linux systems. Admins spend less time on password resets and maintaining separate directory siloes and can rest assured knowing their users are securely connected to the resources they need.  

Learn More About JumpCloud

Contact JumpCloud to learn more about our Active Directory Integration feature for Mac. You can also sign up for a free account and check out our comprehensive cloud IAM platform free for up to 10 users. Finally, don’t hesitate to request a demo for a high level or in-depth platform overview. 

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and videographer at JumpCloud. Originally from a small village just outside of Albuquerque, he now calls Boulder home. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found doing creek stuff.

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