Cloud Windows NPS

Written by Zach DeMeyer on June 25, 2019

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The cloud is changing the game for businesses everywhere. After all, 94% of enterprises are already using at least one cloud service, with 83% projected to move their workloads to the cloud completely by 2020 (Hosting Tribunal). So, it’s no wonder that many IT admins are looking to offload their traditional solutions to the cloud, such as networking infrastructure solutions like Microsoft® Windows® Network Policy Server (NPS)—i.e. an on-prem RADIUS server.

The concept of a cloud Windows NPS makes sense. With Microsoft Azure® a rising figure in the cloud infrastructure space, it would follow that IT admins could use an Azure-esque service to manage their network access as well. Unfortunately, there aren’t cloud Windows NPS solutions available; at least, there aren’t cloud RADIUS solutions available directly from Microsoft.

There is, however, a third-party RADIUS service that is analogous to Windows NPS in the cloud. Before we discuss this solution, let’s first explore the concepts behind Windows NPS itself.

Why Windows NPS?

If you are interested in Windows NPS, it is highly likely that you are trying to leverage the RADIUS protocol to authenticate users to solutions such as WiFi, VPNs, switches/routers, or other network infrastructure gear. Generally, NPS has played a significant role for IT admins who were trying to control their Windows-based networks. NPS seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Active Directory®, a long-time staple of IT organizations and very often the core on-prem identity provider (IdP) for Windows-based networks.

So, for these on-prem, Windows-based IT networks, using Windows NPS was practically a gimme. Of course, there are several other on-prem RADIUS implementations available on the market, but since NPS was included with Windows Server, which provided Active Directory (AD), many organizations simply stuck with NPS for their networks.

Rise of the Cloud

Enter the cloud. As we said earlier, cloud usage is revolutionizing the way business is run in a majority of companies worldwide. Of course, in spite of new cloud innovations, users still need their organization’s network to access their various resources on-prem and hosted in the cloud. So, IT admins obviously want to control access to the network, and subsequently cloud resources, but legacy methods are becoming more laborious than they’re worth.

As IT admins look towards the next generation of their infrastructure, many are searching for SaaS-based solutions that can off-load the heavy lifting of implementing and running their network. Recently, a new wave of identity and access management (IAM) solutions has been emerging to solve a number of issues for connecting users to more modern IT resources – Mac®/Linux® machines, Azure and AWS® cloud servers, G Suite™ and Office 365™, web applications, WiFi, VPNs, and much more.

Cloud Windows NPS Alternative

Cresting this wave of new IAM solutions is a cloud directory service that has reimagined Active Directory for the cloud era, with a subset of functionality akin to Windows NPS. Instead of being hosted on-prem, this NPS-like solution is called RADIUS-as-a-Service, designed to completely offload the hassle of implementing and configuring a RADIUS server. RADIUS-as-a-Service is a part of the greater JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® product.

IT admins can use JumpCloud to authenticate their user base, as well as authorize their access to the variety of IT resources, both on-prem and in the cloud, that they leverage in their daily work. These IT resources include workstations, applications, networks, and more, and IT admins can manage them all from a single admin console. With JumpCloud, IT organizations are free to leverage virtually any IT resources they would like without having to worry if they can manage them or not.

Get Started with RADIUS-as-a-Service Free

If your organization is looking for a cloud Windows NPS alternative, look no further than RADIUS-as-a-Service. You can try RADIUS-as-a-Service, and the rest of JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, absolutely free today. A JumpCloud account gives you complete access to Directory-as-a-Service for up to ten users with no charge to you whatsoever. 

You can also request a live demo of the product, or explore our YouTube channel to learn more. If you would like, you can also contact us to speak with a JumpCloud team member directly.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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