Future of Device Management? A Cloud Directory Platform

Written by Brandon White on October 19, 2020

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Since the dawn of “the enterprise,” the IT world has mostly existed with on-premises management systems, but that is quickly changing. The multi-device world has been here for a decade, and now Mac® computers are among the fastest-growing products in the enterprise. Yesterday’s homogeneous device management strategy isn’t going to work in a changing IT landscape.

For the longest time, all device management was built around Microsoft® Windows® on employee machines, with an on-prem Windows Server infrastructure. Email was processed by Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory® controlled user and device management, with SMS and SCCM for device management. These Microsoft solutions were a staple in IT environments for a long time. In theory, it was a simple solution, and in some ways, it was. The problem is that it was unprepared for what would occur.

A Move Away From Windows

A gradual shift happened over the last decade. IT networks are no longer based just on Windows with a reliance on on-premises Windows Server infrastructure. Now, employees demand access to corporate resources regardless of the type of device they’re using and regardless of their locations. Today only one in five enterprise devices is based on Windows. The vast majority of devices connecting to enterprise networks are iPhones, iPads, Androids, Macs, and Linux based machines. Windows has been challenged by Linux® as the dominant on-prem server software as well. Employees expect access to email, calendar, contacts, files, and corporate apps from any modern device.

Another major shift is the move away from on-prem email servers to cloud-based solutions like G Suite™ (now called Google Workspaces) and other cloud-based solutions. These tools often replace the use of Microsoft Exchange Server, Windows File Server, and desktop Office™ applications. This functionality is moving to the cloud and does not rely on legacy authentication mechanisms like Active Directory.

A Cloud-First IT Strategy

The landscape is undoubtedly changing, and the management tools are changing along with it. Tools like Active Directory are of diminishing value in a world where the “truth” of authentication and identity has moved upwards to cloud services. A new generation of cloud-based IT solutions is emerging in response to the changes. A strong contender in the space is the JumpCloud® Directory Platform. JumpCloud is more than cloud identity management. JumpCloud manages Mac, Windows, and Linux from a single interface. Much like Active Directory provided Group Policy Objects (GPOs) as a method to manage Windows devices, this cloud directory platform uses a Policies framework to manage Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms simultaneously, all from one interface, accessible anywhere.

IT organizations can enable Policies such as screen saver lock, password management, and any number of other IT management settings. An IT administrator can push out a policy from an office in New York, and it will reach the corporate fleet all around the globe. This entire solution can be deployed without purchasing, configuring, and deploying a new server.

JumpCloud’s device management platform also empowers IT admins with the ability to write custom management Policies, as well as Commands that work across their entire device lineup, to keep devices in compliance. No longer do the different device types have to be managed independently by separate systems. IT admins benefit from an integrated solution for user and device management from one platform without the complexity of on-site servers or the need for clunky VPN solutions for employee devices to receive new policy updates.

Take back control of your laptops, desktops, & server management with JumpCloud. JumpCloud offers cross-OS user management, policy enforcement, & compliance for laptops, servers, and workstations. It works on Macs, Windows, and Linux with point-and-click simplicity. Try JumpCloud Free for up to 10 users and 10 devices.

Brandon White

Brandon is an enthusiast, solutionist, and JumpCloud’s Technical Evangelist, active in journalism and IT in cities across the US for over 25 years. Pick his brain on Slack in the JumpCloud Lounge: http://ow.ly/seTs30qO7WX

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