Extend Active Directory Identities to the Cloud

Written by Vince Lujan on January 2, 2018

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Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) has been the default on-prem identity management platform in IT organizations for many years. Yet, with the rise of cloud technology, many IT admins have been forced to search for the best way to extend Active Directory identities to the cloud.

The good news is that a new generation of identity and access management (IAM) solution has emerged from JumpCloud that can extend AD identities to a comprehensive array of IT resources with one cloud-based solution. It’s called AD Integration, but before we describe its characteristics, let’s step back and outline why IT organizations need a new IAM solution to extend AD identities to the cloud.

AD Identities and Windows-based IT Resources

The identity management sector has changed dramatically since the dawn of the new millenium.

It used to be that AD was the only identity management platform necessary to control an organization’s IT infrastructure. This was primarily due to the fact that Microsoft IT solutions made up the majority of IT networks at the time. For example, it was common for organizations to leverage Windows® systems for users, Office® for productivity, Exchange® for email, SCCM® (previously SMS) for Windows server management, Active Directory for authentication, and so on.

The homogeneous nature of IT networks at the time made identity management relatively straightforward. However, the introduction of web applications and the rise of Mac and Linux in the mid-2000’s presented new challenges.

AD Identities and Non-Windows IT Resources

Active Directory fails in the cloud

The introduction of web applications and non-Windows resources meant that IT environments were no longer homogeneous or completely on-prem. The result was that Active Directory, which was designed to support on-prem networks of Microsoft IT solutions, was unable to provide management capabilities for these types of non-Windows and/or cloud resources.

Of course, the modern IT admin knows that AD add-ons like web application SSO solutions can supplement the capabilities that AD lacks. The trouble with this approach is that separate add-ons are typically required for each IT resource that is not supported by AD, which can be the majority of modern networks. Further, the add-on approach cannot be sustained as more IT resources continue to shift to the cloud. That’s why IT admins need a true SSO™ solution, because the alternative is to manage multiple add-on solutions independently in addition to managing AD on-prem.

Fortunately, a new generation of IAM solution from JumpCloud has emerged that is changing the way IT admins think about identity management. The JumpCloud Active Directory Integration feature has the power to extend AD identities to virtually any IT resource with one cloud based solution.

Extend AD Identities to the Cloud with JumpCloud

AD Integration is a JumpCloud feature designed to extend AD identities to the cloud and beyond. It works by installing a lightweight agent on AD servers or domain controllers, which allows the Directory-as-a-Service platform to sync with an existing AD instance and import AD user identities.

In doing so, IT admins can take advantage of the full functionality of the Directory-as-a-Service platform, which can federate AD identities to virtually any IT resource for authentication and access. Web applications (e.g., Salesforce, Dropbox, Box), cloud infrastructure (AWS, GCP), productivity platforms (G Suite, Office 365), heterogeneous systems and servers (Windows, Mac, Linux), networks (wired, WiFi), on-prem applications (Docker, Jenkins) Samba file servers and NAS appliances (Synology, QNAP) – all of these are examples of IT resources that can be authenticated with AD credentials via the JumpCloud AD Integration utility.

The result is that IT organizations can continue to leverage AD on-prem, but without the hassle of managing multiple add-ons (e.g. SSO providers, identity bridges) in addition to managing AD. Instead, the JumpCloud AD Integration utility can provide one IDaaS solution to rule them all.

Ideally, of course, IT organizations would be able to eliminate AD altogether in favor of the comprehensive Directory-as-a-Service platform. However, the AD Integration utility can be the next best thing for hybrid cloud environments with AD on-prem.

Learn More About AD Integration

Get Started and Learn more about JumpCloud

The JumpCloud AD Integration utility can be a great asset for IT organizations with a cloud-forward mindset but that are unable to eliminate AD from their IT infrastructure. It can provide a single solution to extend AD identities to the cloud, eliminating the need for conventional SSO platforms. The best part is that JumpCloud’s AD Integration is just one component of a robust cloud directory. That means IT admins can take advantage of the full functionality of the Directory-as-a-Service platform and authenticate virtually any IT resource with AD credentials.

You can also contact the JumpCloud team if you have any questions, or sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account and extend AD identities to the cloud today. Your first ten users are free forever to help you explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost.

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