By Zach DeMeyer Posted May 11, 2019
Managing Windows®, macOS®, and Linux® endpoints can be a challenge. Historically, IT networks have largely been homogenous Windows environments. Therefore, management of the infrastructure has been generally handled with Microsoft®-based tools.
But, as the IT landscape changes and shifts to the cloud, it becomes more difficult for IT admins to find viable solutions. It is even harder to find a free endpoint management system that can work for modern IT networks.
The good news is that a next generation cloud identity management platform is integrating endpoint management capabilities. And, the nice part is that, for under 10 users, the entire platform is free. Called Directory-as-a-Service®, this next generation user access and system management solution is reimagining the need for Microsoft Active Directory® and SCCM. But before we dive into Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS), let’s first examine the endpoint management scene with a wider lens.
Endpoint Management: A History
Stepping back, the IT landscape is vastly different from where it was only a couple decades ago. Traditionally, IT environments have been Windows-based. This means that, since the late 1990s, managing access to the system and controlling the device itself were both handled by Active Directory.
IT admins could provision, deprovision, and modify access and then, through the use of GPOs (Group Policy Objects), set security policies, install and update software, and connect users to drives and printers among thousands of other tasks. Microsoft Active Directory (AD) was a complete identity and access management tool for the time, but its abilities soon came into question in light of a changing IT market.
Struggles with Cross-OS Endpoint Management
As IT organizations have shifted away from strictly Windows-based networks, AD is challenged when faced with managing said non-Windows IT resources. Organizations using AD started incorporating add-on solutions to help bolster the legacy directory service’s identity management. Some of these add-ons included identity bridges for managing Mac® and Linux devices and web application single sign-on (SSO) solutions for SaaS apps in the cloud.
Ultimately, IT admins began noticing a disconnect in their endpoint management approaches as well. The once ideal endpoint management tool, AD, was unable to handle the influx of new technologies in the IT space. Despite this, more and more IT environments were becoming increasingly heterogeneous, adopting freedom of choice for end users over efficient endpoint management.
The Cost of Legacy Endpoint Management
What’s more, the AD + add-on approach to endpoint management had another major drawback; it certainly was not free. AD requires a Windows Server client access license (CAL) to leverage and operate on-prem servers. Additionally, solutions like identity bridges and SSO have their own costs as well, which are usually priced on a per user basis.
All these costs add up, taking their toll on the budgets of IT organizations. With that in mind, we understand why the consensus among admins is the desire for a free endpoint management solution. Taking into account the drawbacks of AD’s driving focus on Windows systems in the heterogeneous modern age, it would be best to find an endpoint management tool that is free and cross-platform.
Try Cross-Platform Endpoint Management Free
What is Directory-as-a-Service?
All of this leads us back to Directory-as-a-Service. Created by JumpCloud®, Directory-as-a-Service is a cloud directory created for the modern era of identity and access management. JumpCloud’s product starts with endpoints of all major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux), federating user access to them from JumpCloud’s user database.
That access is then propagated to virtually all resources accessible by that system: email, neworks, applications, servers, infrastructure, and more. With one set of credentials, an end user can use the tools needed in their day-to-day work from anywhere on the globe.
JumpCloud can also manage security on these resources. Using GPO-like capabilities called Policies, admins can enforce security measures like full disk encryption (FDE), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and more on JumpCloud managed systems. All of this capability is managed through a single pane of glass from an accessible browser console.
Sign Up for JumpCloud
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is available for free for up to ten users forever. Simply sign up for the product to start exercising your free users today. The entire platform is at your disposal.
Once you exceed ten users, please refer to our pricing page for more information. If you would like to learn more or would like help getting started with JumpCloud, contact us or consult our Knowledge Base.