By Natalie Bluhm Posted November 10, 2017
Controlling access to IT resources is one of the most important roles in the enterprise today. It’s not just about user efficiency. With more data security breaches than ever before, IT admins are highly motivated to tightly control access to every IT resource they have and to protect their end users from being hacked. The question then becomes what is the future of user management? Are cloud directory services a tool to help secure organizations?
Before we take a look at any solutions, we should make sure we understand the current challenge IT is up against when it comes to user management.
Technology is Changing IT for the Better
IT environments have been in a state of massive flux over the last decade. Previously, they were largely homogeneous, with Microsoft Windows as the only OS in town, and they were located on-prem. With the advent of cloud infrastructure and web applications, the world started to shift. The browser started to become the common user interface which helped Macs get their foot in the door in the enterprise. AWS enabled Linux to become the dominant server platform, and G Suite (formerly Google Apps) changed the game on email, file storage, and productivity applications. All of these changes were beneficial to end users and to technical personnel. The challenge quickly shifted to how IT organizations would manage this new, mixed platform environment.
Active Directory is not the Future of User Management
Historically, Microsoft locked organizations into their ecosystem with tools such as the user management solution Active Directory® and the systems management solution SCCM. The “lock in” comes with the fact that Microsoft didn’t make it easy to control non-Windows users and devices. IT admins didn’t want their users to bring in Mac or Linux systems because their existing management tools didn’t work well with these platforms. The result was that IT environments remained homogenous.
But the lock-in strategy could only work for so long. Today a wide array of different platforms and providers have reached critical mass in the office – in spite of Microsoft’s best efforts. Users are happy with their increased options for systems and productivity platforms. IT admins, on the other hand? Managing who has access to all of these heterogeneous resources has made their daily life much more difficult.
With poor user management, security risks abound. When an end user leaves the company, deprovisioning access to resources becomes a nightmare that always ends with uncertainty. Did IT revoke access to all of the resources the user was using? Is IT even aware of all the identities and resources? Furthermore, IT has no way of knowing for sure whether end users are following best practices when it comes to passwords, antivirus, and MFA.
Future of User Management – Cloud Identity Provider
Legacy user management tools don’t make it easy for IT organizations to operate in a modern, heterogeneous environment.
A new generation of cloud directory services is changing the game. It should come as no surprise that the future of user management is on the cloud. A virtual directory service is able to give IT one browser-based console to securely manage and connect user identities to the IT resources those users need. This includes all three major operating systems (Mac, Linux, Windows), cloud and on-prem servers, web and on-prem applications, physical and virtual storage, and wired and WiFi networks. End users benefit by gaining seamless access to the resources they need and want to use, and they only have to remember one set of credentials to access those resources. IT enjoys a more secure, centralized environment while being able to easily provision/deprovision users from all of their IT resources with a couple clicks.
Learn how to quickly get up and running with user management by watching the video below.
For more information on the future of user management, we hope you’ll drop us a note. You’re also invited to start testing our cloud directory services and all of our features by signing up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever.