By Zach DeMeyer Posted July 19, 2018
Is there a free cloud Active Directory® alternative? Well, while it may not be free for an unlimited number of users, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® is free for 10 users, forever. JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is reimagining Active Directory for the cloud era. It is completely free to get started with, and only when you need to expand your user base do you need to begin a commercial relationship. But how is JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service a free cloud Active Directory alternative? Let’s find out.
Microsoft® Active Directory (MAD or AD) was created almost 20 years ago and is the market share leader for connecting users to the Windows® IT resources they need. In those days, Microsoft was essentially the king of the computer world, with software solutions like Exchange®, Office®, and Outlook® that ruled the workplace. Given that the traditional IT network was Windows-centric, MAD became the standard quickly and is still widely used today.
Eventually, something began to stir among the IT masses. A new technology rose up through the ranks, changing the way the industry looked at… well, everything—the cloud. Using the cloud, IT resources could be leveraged from the web, and on-prem solutions seemed to become more of a hindrance than a help. As a result, Microsoft’s rule started to look a little precarious.
Coup de Cloud
See, the challenge for modern IT organizations is that as the IT landscape continues to shift to the cloud, their on-prem identity provider, Active Directory, is struggling to adapt. With the influx of cloud-based IT solutions, like AWS® for infrastructure or G Suite™ for productivity, it becomes harder and harder for MAD to manage user access. MAD was designed for controlling on-prem, Windows-based resources, so, to MAD, the variety of cloud IT solutions are as hard to grasp as their namesake. Not only that, an increasingly mixed platform environment, with Mac, Linux, and mobile devices, are challenging MAD as well.
Active Directory needs to find a way to rein in the errant cloud-based applications. This brought about the advent of web application single sign-on solutions. With them, IT organizations have the ability maintain their users and the applications they need piggybacked on their directory in MAD. While the new software could be used to apply MAD’s sign-on functionality to a range of cloud-based resources, it also adds another layer of costs and work for IT organizations. Also, these solutions only solved part of the problem. IT admins needed even more third-party solutions to manage Mac and Linux systems, cheaper file storage solutions, and other up-and-coming non-Microsoft resources.
Finding a Free Cloud Active Directory
With all of these difficulties for securely managing and connecting users to the IT resources they need, it makes sense that IT organizations are looking for cloud Active Directory alternatives. By shifting to the cloud, they can off-load a great deal of the hassle of implementing and managing directory services while also using a platform that works from the cloud and for cloud, on-prem, and remote use cases.
Cloud identity management is a critical part of any organization with impacts on security, productivity, and cost. Ultimately, being secure and productive is extremely critical for being cost-effective. The challenge, of course, is to find a free cloud Active Directory, and unfortunately, it isn’t going to be free for unlimited use.
A New Solution
With JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, you can leverage a cloud-based Active Directory alternative with True Single Sign-on™ and remote, platform-agnostic identity management. It’s a reimagination of Active Directory for the cloud era, and you can sign up with JumpCloud completely free, with your first 10 users on the house. While 10 users free forever is a great start, more importantly than the price is whether the platform meets the needs and requirements of your organization.
To see whether JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is the right free cloud Active Directory replacement for you, schedule a demo of JumpCloud and see the platform in the hands of an expert. If you have any questions, you can check out our knowledge base or contact us. Our support team are more than happy to help.