The current push toward remote work around the world demonstrates the limitations of traditional IT architectures.
Some organizations can shift to remote work seamlessly, but many are scrambling to cobble together solutions that allow their users to continue working but stay safe and healthy in their homes.
Beyond that — as we look toward the future — this demonstrates the ways IT architectures need to be reimagined to support not only all-remote workforces but also location-flexible and technologically advanced workforces. The tools they use will expand beyond video meeting, digital whiteboard, and team messaging platforms to include other emerging collaboration technologies, like augmented/virtual reality technologies. Spiceworks noted in its 2020 State of IT report, too, that “business adoption of hyperconverged infrastructure, edge computing, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence each grew 5 percentage points year over year.”
It might be hard to imagine today, but IT will need to connect users to new and cutting-edge technologies in a secure way. How will IT architectures rise to meet these challenges?
Envisioning the “Domainless Enterprise”
Organizations can no longer afford to have their end users tethered to specific offices or on-premises architecture.
At JumpCloud®, the first Directory-as-a-Service® company, our vision for the world is one in which organizations can adopt the “domainless enterprise” approach and provide seamless and secure access to all IT resources from anywhere. This flexible, domainless approach to IT means that admins can provide, manage, and revoke access regardless of where they’re based, and end users can get to work wherever they find themselves, too.
With a cloud directory service, admins no longer need to manage vendor relationships to ensure each new product they introduce in their environment is tethered to traditional infrastructure and servers — and VPN tunneling to connect users back to the corporate network isn’t a mandate. The access control and device management process should function similarly whether users are on-prem or off.
This kind of domainless enterprise architecture must meet three key needs:
3 IT Needs for Remote Employees
1. Provision User Access to Resources
The domainless enterprise revolves around a central cloud directory. These directory services must be able to provision a user’s core identity to virtually all IT resources without the need for on-prem domain controllers. As we move forward, it will no longer be feasible to manage identity bridges and vendors to federate identities from on-prem servers everywhere they’re needed, particularly as we adopt new technologies and ways of working.
Once users are provisioned in the cloud directory, automatic workflows can federate that identity to systems, applications, networks, and cloud infrastructure automatically based on their roles and groups. Users can then access all their permitted resources through their systems — Mac®, Windows®, or Linux® — wherever they are.
2. Configure & Secure Systems
In this model, because users access all their permitted resources through their systems, those systems must be locked down to ward off bad actors and other threats. From a central cloud directory, admins must be able to configure and secure systems en masse.
This includes enforcing GPO-like policies across their fleets, as well as using PowerShell, command runners, and other automation tools to take bulk actions on machines. From a central cloud directory, an admin should be able to, for example, require multi-factor authentication, enforce full disk encryption, and install operating system patches.
That way, no matter where users are working, admins can rest assured knowing the data they’re accessing is secure in flight and at-rest
3. Ensure Visibility Across IT Environment
These new architectures must also return key data about directory- and system-level functions. By connecting all IT resources to the central cloud directory, admins ensure maximum visibility across their environments. From that same directory, they should be able to report and analyze data about who is accessing what and how systems are functioning.
Whether a user is in the office, at home, or traveling abroad, this telemetry makes troubleshooting and identifying vulnerabilities a key function of the core directory.
How to Adopt the Domainless Enterprise
JumpCloud offers the first cloud directory service, and we’re driven to ensure organizations stay productive and secure, no matter the circumstances. Click here to learn more about managing your directory, your users, and their resources entirely from the cloud.