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Microsoft Office 365® is perhaps one of the fastest growing solutions on the planet. As soon as Microsoft put their entire focus on protecting their Office franchise, and perhaps even their company, they have come back with a vengeance. The challenge for organizations leveraging O365, though, is how to shift their identity management function to the cloud. A new generation of solution called cloud identity management has a function for Office 365 integration. We’ll explain more about these identity access management (IAM) solutions later, but first it’s important to look at how the current environment developed.

The Origin of Office 365

O365 vs g suite

By now, most people know the story of Google versus Microsoft, or more specifically, G Suite® vs. Office 365. Google introduced Google Apps® about a decade ago and quickly gained tremendous market share. Organizations looking for the fast, easy, and convenient solution for productivity applications and hosted email turned to GApps. It was cost-effective and no equipment was necessary on-prem. In fact, many startups adopted G Suite early on and grew with it. Microsoft didn’t realize until fairly late that Google Apps was threatening its dominance.

By this time, Macs had started to gain popularity. iOS and Android devices were winning the mobile phone war. So Microsoft Exchange, Office, and Windows Server being replaced by GApps made it feel like the balance was tipping away from Microsoft. Their market domination in jeopardy, Microsoft needed to act and act fast. They responded with Office 365 – their cloud-based version of Office and Exchange, and a direct competitor to GApps. The response worked, and Office 365 quickly stemmed the losses to Google. Microsoft started to gain back the market share they had lost.

The Active Directory Problem and the JumpCloud Solution

Active Directory fails in the cloud

While the move to the cloud was working for an organization’s productivity platform, when thinking about identity management it wasn’t. Microsoft Active Directory® was still the dominant platform for IAM and it was hosted on-prem. Most organizations would shift their productivity platform to the cloud, and their identity management systems would have to remain on-prem. One foot in the clouds and one firmly on-prem. That’s not how IT admins want it to work.

Fortunately, a new version of cloud identity management platform called Directory-as-a-Service® has changed the game. DaaS enables IT organizations to replace Active Directory on-prem with cloud directory services. Additionally, the cloud directory enables IT organizations to eliminate their reliance on Microsoft. Directory-as-a-Service would enable them to work with Mac and Linux devices. They could leverage AWS, Google Cloud, or even Azure. They could select G Suite or Office 365, or even both. For those that choose Office 365, the tight integration with the cloud identity management platform seamlessly integrates for provisioning, deprovisioning, and modifications of user access. IT admins can get rid of the on-prem Active Directory instance while still being able to manage their identities and access control to systems, applications, data, and networks. The features that Directory-as-a-Service can provide IT organizations help tremendously in easing the workload, and freeing up time for other responsibilities.

Learn More About Cloud Identity Management and O365

If you would like to learn more about how the cloud identity management function for Office 365 integration can support your organization, you can watch the video above which demonstrates the integration with O365 in action. Alternatively, sign-up for a free JumpCloud cloud directory account and give it a try for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever – no credit card required – so there’s no barrier to getting started with a few users and systems to see if our virtual identity provider could work for you.

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