JumpCloud and a G Suite Directory Service

By Rajat Bhargava Posted October 1, 2016

We get this question a lot:

“Can G Suite’s directory service be your core, central, and authoritative identity provider?”

The simple answer is, “No.”

But, there is a lot more to the discussion about how G Suite’s directory operates.

Understanding Google’s Strategy with G Suite

G Suite Logo

G Suite doesn’t have a directory service in the traditional sense. It doesn’t authenticate, authorize, or manage users and their device, application, and network access.

Instead, G Suite’s directory capabilities really are focused on access to G Suite services such as email, storage, productivity, and meetings.

G Suite also offers limited SSO functionality, into some select web applications via G Suite credentials and the SAML and OAuth authentication protocols. But, unfortunately, the G Suite identity provider functionality doesn’t authenticate a user’s laptop or desktop, cloud servers at AWS, on-prem LDAP-based applications, or WiFi authentication.

The Reasons Behind the Success of G Suite

g suite google gif

Over 2mm businesses have made the leap to the cloud with G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps for Work). The primary drivers for the move have been to outsource email hosting, leverage cost-effective productivity applications, and storage and communication solutions.

The value for IT organizations is immense.

Instead of having on-prem servers and expending time and resources managing infrastructure, all of that can be outsourced to Google. Further, Google’s SaaS-based model is capital efficient for organizations. That is a big part of why startups jumped on what was then Google Apps very early.

Over time, enterprises also shifted to Google Apps making it a highly popular solution across the market. Ultimately, Microsoft took notice and ended up developing Office 365 to compete with G Suite.

Office 365 Challenges Google


The comparison between G Suite and Office 365 is important and one of the key areas that is missing in both services is directory services. Both G Suite and Office 365 assume that organizations will leverage Active Directory or OpenLDAP.

Unfortunately, for cloud forward organizations having their productivity suite in the cloud and their directory service on-prem makes no sense. G Suite’s directory service isn’t an alternative because it isn’t a central user management platform.

G Suite as a Cloud Directory

jumpcloud g suite integration

If you would like to learn more about G Suite directory services, look into JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® platform. It is tightly integrated with G Suite and is able to leverage G Suite identities to be the core set of credentials across an organization’s system, applications, and networks.

Feel free to give our Identity-as-a-Service platform a try for yourself. It’s quick to integrate with G Suite and you’ll have central control over user management in G Suite.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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