Directory Services Reimagined

Written by Rajat Bhargava on October 29, 2015

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There aren’t many markets that the cloud hasn’t touched. In fact, just about every major IT category has been reinvented in the cloud. While many new companies have emerged to  challenge on-premises software incumbents, scores of existing leaders have embraced using the cloud to their advantage.

As we built the first version of JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, which encompassed security features and user management functionality for servers, customer feedback led us to expand our user management functionality to desktops and laptops. Encouraged to welcome the concept of becoming a cloud-based directory service, we reinvented the Microsoft® Active Directory® and OpenLDAP™ for the modern cloud era.

User Management

We started to deeply investigate the possibility of expanding our focus on user management. What we learned was interesting; existing directory services solutions were focused on being on-premises, and they weren’t migrating to the cloud. We then started digging into modern IT environments and started to learn more about the challenges that IT admins faced. Today’s organizations  employ multiple laptop and desktop platforms. They’ve also embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) because it boosts employees’ productivity. Now, more than ever, IT admins need to be able to support the wide variety of devices used by employees. Developers and ops personnel are making use of  Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions such as AWS® or Google Compute Engine. On-premises software and cloud computing need to be accessed, and WiFi networks need to be locked down.

At the center of all of these modern approaches is the ability to centrally control and manage user access, or a modern directory service. The challenge for IT admins is that legacy directory solutions won’t cover diverse platforms, especially on a global scale. IT admins used to cobble together a variety of directories in the hopes of establishing a unified directory. This increased  workload decreased security, but there wasn’t an alternative.

The opportunity to help organizations leverage modern cloud infrastructure and services was  extremely interesting to us. We  deepened our user management solutions while remaining focused on building core security components from the inside out. Our goal was to build an easy-to-consume directory service that would work with virtually all of an organization’s IT resources. Some of the devices and applications include: Macs, Windows, Linux machines; AWS and GCE cloud infrastructure; and on-premises applications such Jira, Confluence, or Git with LDAP authentication; and WiFi networking equipment like Meraki.

IT admins benefit greatly from a central directory service.

Directory services allows easy provision, deprovision, and modifications to user access. End users enjoy single sign-on access to their devices, applications, and network. All of this is easily delivered as a SaaS-based service from the cloud. Now, that’s how we’ve reinvented directory services!

If you would like to learn more, drop us a note or give JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service a try. We’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts, especially  as we continue to innovate our next generation directory services.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is an entrepreneur, investor, author, and CEO and co-founder of JumpCloud. An MIT graduate with over two decades of high-tech experience, Rajat is a ten-time entrepreneur with six exits including two IPOs and four trade sales.

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