Extend Office 365™ Identities to macOS®

Written by Vince Lujan on September 1, 2019

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Is it possible to extend Office 365 identities to macOS®? As modern IT organizations often leverage both platforms in various capacities, having a single authoritative identity store for both would be useful.

Of course, the challenge is that Microsoft®, the creator of Office 365, and Apple®, the creator of macOS, are fierce competitors. Consequently, extending Office 365 identities to macOS has historically required a bit of black magic, so to speak.

The good news is that a new generation of cloud directory services is making it easier than ever to leverage a single user identity for both Office 365 and macOS.

Microsoft Identities Explained

Before we talk about how to connect Office 365 identities to macOS, it’s important to note that Office 365 identities are actually based in Azure® Active Directory® (AD)—Microsoft’s cloud IAM platform for the Azure cloud infrastructure, which includes Office 365. So, when we talk about extending Office 365 identities to macOS, we’re essentially extending Azure AD identities to macOS

At any rate, connecting Microsoft identities to non-Microsoft platforms has notoriously been challenging. Remember on-prem Active Directory? Traditional AD implementations have always required heavy investment into on-prem identity management infrastructure and directory add-ons to extend Microsoft identities to macOS. 

Unfortunately, it would seem this trait has been passed on to Microsoft’s next generation of IT management solutions (i.e., Azure AD). This is why IT admins are searching for a solution that can extend Office 365 or Azure AD identities to macOS—to make their lives easier.

Directory Extension Strategies

Of course, you could take the roundabout approach by implementing legacy Active Directory on-prem in order to extend Office 365 identities to macOS. With this approach, IT admins first integrate Azure AD with AD on-prem via Azure AD Connect (Microsoft’s cloud identity bridge). Next, they integrate their Mac fleet with AD via traditional directory extension or identity bridge technology for an additional third-party expense. The end result is that users can leverage their on-prem AD identity to gain access to both.

As you can imagine, this approach requires heavy investment into on-prem identity management infrastructure, a cloud user management system, and a handful of additional identity federation services, but it can be done. Fortunately, however, it doesn’t have to be. A next-generation cloud directory can help IT organizations reach a similar end, albeit without the heavy investment into on-prem infrastructure and add-on services. 

Centralized Cloud IdP

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® is Active Directory reimagined for the cloud. The JumpCloud platform enables IT organizations with a centralized cloud identity provider that can bring virtually any IT resources into the fold. 

When it comes to extending Office 365 to macOS, the JumpCloud platform has the ability to integrate with both platforms. Thus, providing a singular identity (i.e., one password for everything) to both platforms and extending them to a wider range of IT resources. 

The end result is that IT organizations can integrate Azure AD and their macOS systems with JumpCloud, import Office 365 identities into JumpCloud, and then extend Office 365 identities to macOS from the cloud. That’s 3 birds with one stone, and don’t even get me started on multi-factor authentication (MFA), GPO-like Policies for Windows, macOS, and Linux, SSH key management and secure escrow, and everything else the JumpCloud platform does to secure your identities once they are imported. 

Learn More About JumpCloud

Contact JumpCloud to learn more about how to extend Office 365 identities to macOS. You can also sign up for a free account and see this functionality and more in action today. Your first 10 users are free forever. 

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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