Five Keys to a Modern Directory

Written by Rajat Bhargava on November 3, 2014

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Why do you need to invest in a new directory service? Or, said more directly, why should you replace AD or LDAP?

Businesses must securely connect employees with IT resources. But new developments and  IT trends have added confusion and complexity to what was once a territory dominated by Microsoft Active Directory or OpenLDAP. Specifically, there are three areas of complexity.

First, many services—including internal applications, servers, or Web-based applications—have moved to the cloud.

Second, Apple’s resurgence over the last decade including the proliferation of its products as an enterprise work solution (workstations, laptops, and mobile devices) have left IT organizations wondering how can they manage—and secure—the diverse devices used: Macs, iPhones, and now even wearable technologies.

Finally, Google’s bold move to shift email to the cloud has paid off handsomely for not only the company, but also their customers.

IT admins are left with a challenge. How can they securely, and reliably, connect and manage the diverse users, devices, applications, and networks central to today’s work environment.

The answer is the modern directory service. Sometimes referred to as Identity-as-a-Service, the modern directory service is the key to unlocking the ability for your employees to work from anywhere on any device and connect to whatever they need, securely. IT admins retain control and visibility over who has access to what applications, in a simple, secure way.

Until now, Microsoft’s Active Directory has dominated corporate directory with open source OpenLDAP. Unfortunately, these directories have not advanced to leap to the cloud effectively, nor have they developed to adjust to new devices used in the workplace. For example, Microsoft’s AD is still located on-premise and doesn’t collaborate well with cloud based systems, it doesn’t communicate well with new Mac OS X platforms (which are becoming more popular professional devices), and it doesn’t seamlessly integrate with cloud-based email solutions like Google Apps for Work.

IT admins need a solution that doesn’t leave them with bigger problems than they had before like one foot in the on-prem world and one foot in the cloud.

A modern directory service must advance the idea of directories – centralization, security, and ubiquity. It must be an authentication, authorization, and management platform for employees, their devices, applications (whether on-prem or in the cloud), and networks. Modern identity providers must be flexible enough to work both with a company’s cloud and on-premise infrastructure, in terms of both authentication and authorization, as well as systems management for Windows, Macs, and Linux devices.

Modern Directory Must-Haves

In order to accomplish that mission, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® platform has the five core capabilities and attributes to ensure success:

  1. Cloud-based
  2. Ubiquitous
  3. Management
  4. Security
  5. Simplicity

Over the next five posts, we’ll discuss why each requirement is critical to enabling modern organizations to be agile and innovative.

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