Differences: Okta’s Universal Directory and DaaS

Written by Greg Keller on October 20, 2015

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We often are asked the question of what the difference is between JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS) and Okta’s Universal Directory. With a name like Universal Directory, IT folks often conclude that Okta’s functionality is a replacement for directory services. But that’s not quite right.

Okta’s Universal Directory is, in fact, complementary to JumpCloud’s DaaS. The solutions do two separate things. Okta’s Universal Directory offers extensible user profiles, app-specific profiles, and custom mapping of attributes between profiles to support provisioning. JumpCloud’s DaaS platform provides authentication, authorization, and device management services for devices, internal applications, and networks.

Before diving into each solution, let’s step back and talk about what directory services are.

Directory Services in the Cloud Era

For many organizations, the bread and butter of directory services is the capability of connecting users with their IT resources. Those connections include authenticating users and providing authorization services.

Directory services also includes the ability to manage devices. Specifically, that means executing tasks or policies on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. A core user directory is the authoritative place where users are created, deleted, and modified and where their IT resources contact the core user directory for user authentication.

Okta / JumpCloud Comparison

Okta’s directory solution is focused on being a superset repository for users and attributes. IT organizations can import their user attributes from Microsoft® Active Directory®, HR systems, and other directories. Centralizing all of the attributes available for each user, regardless of system, is a key point in Okta’s directory.

JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service platform is focused on being the connection between users and devices, applications, and networks. JumpCloud is able to connect users to Mac®, Linux®, and Windows® devices. JumpCloud’s platform also enables control over users on AWS®, Google Compute Engine, or other Infrastructure-as-a-Service servers. With LDAP and SAML support, JumpCloud’s DaaS connects to legacy applications located on-premises or in the cloud. Connecting to WiFi networks is also part of the JumpCloud platform.

Both directories end up being complementary to each other, but serve very different purposes. DaaS serves as a directory source for Okta and integrates directly with Okta to federate user identities. Okta then takes those identities and creates access to web applications.

JumpCloud & Okta, Working for You

If you would like to learn more about the differences and the complementary nature of Okta’s Universal Directory and JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service, drop us a note. We’d be happy to review it with you and also share with you the details of how we integrate the two solutions together.

Greg Keller

JumpCloud CTO, Greg Keller is a career product visionary and executive management leader. With over two decades of product management, product marketing, and operations experience ranging from startups to global organizations, Greg excels in successful go-to-market execution.

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