Connect FreeNAS to Cloud Identity Management

Written by Vince Lujan on January 14, 2020

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FreeNAS is a free, open source operating system designed for network attached storage (NAS) appliances. IT organizations leverage FreeNAS to manage storage solutions and help share data over a network. However, as more IT management tools move to the cloud, one question is how to connect FreeNAS to cloud identity management solutions. The bigger question, for now though, is why?

Why Connect FreeNAS to Cloud Identity Management?

NAS appliances have been a popular on-prem storage solution in IT organizations for many years. They are cost effective, reliable, and integrate easily into most IT networks.

Devices as such also offer a number of advantages when compared to cloud storage alternatives like Google Drive™, Dropbox, Box, and others – especially considering the impact of large files shifting data back and forth from the cloud. The fact that FreeNAS is an open source operating system designed for managing NAS appliances only adds to the benefits as compared to paid services.

The issue for modern IT organizations is that authenticating user access to NAS devices has traditionally been the responsibility of legacy identity management platforms like Microsoft Active Directory® and OpenLDAP™. As more organizations shift their identity management tools to the cloud, the challenge for IT has become finding a solution that enables them to continue leveraging NAS solutions (e.g., FreeNAS, Synology®, QNAP) on-prem.

Fortunately, a new generation of cloud identity management solution has emerged with the power to connect users to virtually any IT resource, including NAS devices either on-prem or in the cloud. It’s called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Cloud Identity Management for FreeNAS Solutions

The JumpCloud LDAP-as-a-Service feature supports Samba attributes and data, which are required by FreeNAS in order to authenticate user access. This enables JumpCloud to easily integrate with FreeNAS devices and add LDAP authentication for user access.

How does it work? To begin, IT admins simply load their virtual user identities into the Directory-as-a-Service administrative console. These user identities can then be connected to a wide array of IT resources including systems (e.g., Windows®, Mac®, Linux®, cloud servers (AWS®, GCP™, Azure®), on-prem servers, web and on-prem applications utilizing LDAP and SAML, wired and WiFi networks through RADIUS, and physical and virtual storage solutions such as FreeNAS and Samba file servers as well as cloud data storage.

Once connected, the FreeNAS server can then authenticate user access by pointing to the JumpCloud hosted LDAP infrastructure. In other words, a user enters their credentials when accessing the file storage device, which then forwards the authentication to the cloud-hosted directory service.

The benefit to end users is that the same credentials authenticate them to their device, servers, applications, and network can also be utilized for file server access; that means one identity across the IT infrastructure. IT admins benefit from that centralization too — they manage their user identities from a single browser-based window.

Check out the following whiteboard presentation for an in-depth description of JumpCloud’s LDAP authentication to Samba file servers and NAS appliances.

Learn How to Connect FreeNAS to Directory-as-a-Service

FreeNAS servers and other Samba-based file servers are popular even with the move to the cloud. Connecting FreeNAS appliances to a cloud identity management platform such as Directory-as-a-Service can greatly step-up security and access control to an organization’s critical digital assets.

Contact a member of the JumpCloud team to learn more about connecting FreeNAS to cloud identity management. You can also sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account today and see how easy it can be to manage user access to virtually any IT resource from the cloud. Your first ten users are free forever to help you explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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