G Suite Identity Bridge – Connecting On-Prem with the Cloud

Written by Natalie Bluhm on February 15, 2018

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As IT admins are shifting their infrastructure to the cloud with solutions such as G Suite®, the question becomes how do you bridge identities between the on-prem world and the cloud? Is there a G Suite identity bridge that can connect the two? After all, the use of a hybrid cloud environment is expected to grow by 66% over the next two years (Suse).

Let’s take a look at how organizations have been managing their hybrid environment in the past, and how a new solution is improving the identity bridge space.

G Suite, Microsoft, and the Modern Office

g suite

Back in 2015, Google reported G Suite (known as Google Apps back then) had 2 million paying business customers. In 2017, TechCrunch announced G Suite had reached 3 million paying business customers. So, G Suite is steadily finding its place in the business world. Google’s productivity platform has largely been competing against Microsoft® with a focus on Microsoft Exchange, Windows File Server, and Microsoft Office. What about Microsoft Active Directory®? Is G Suite trying to compete with AD? Well, G Suite isn’t really able to replace Active Directory, nor is it Google’s intention. This is a fair question though because many organizations that are using G Suite are still leveraging Microsoft Active Directory on-prem.

Instead of trying to replace Active Directory, Google is encouraging IT organizations to leverage the concept of an identity bridge to federate on-prem AD identities to G Suite Directory. Google’s native solution for this is called Google Cloud Directory Sync (formerly known as Google Apps Directory Sync), but unfortunately it still requires more on-prem hardware, software, and management.

Hybrid Environments need a Cloud G Suite Identity Bridge

cloud identity bridge

The whole idea behind moving towards a hybrid cloud environment is to move away from on-prem hardware, not add more. IT organizations want to take advantage of the cost reductions, improved productivity, and increased agility and innovation that come with using more of the cloud (Suse). The good news is that Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS) is no longer the only option for extending AD identities to G Suite. Now, there is a completely cloud-based alternative to GCDS called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®.

Connecting On-prem with the Cloud using Cloud IAM

Active Directory fails in the cloud

This comprehensive cloud identity and access management (IAM) platform has a number of different capabilities including centralized user management, hosted LDAP, cloud RADIUS, system management, file server authentication, MFA, True Single Sign-On™, and more. For the purposes of this post, one capability that is critical is a G Suite identity bridge – the ability to federate Active Directory identities to G Suite without any on-prem servers required. JumpCloud’s AD Integration does just that. What does this process looks like?

How the G Suite Identity Bridge Works

IT installs a JumpCloud agent on their Microsoft Domain Controller. This is used to synchronize users and groups from AD to JumpCloud. Once the selected users and groups are in JumpCloud, IT can extend those identities to G Suite and other resources that don’t integrate well with Active Directory. On the end user’s side, they can enjoy using their same AD credentials to log in to G Suite, their Mac or Linux system, remote servers (hosted at AWS, GCP, or other IaaS platform), web-based applications, and even LDAP-based resources like JIRA.

The benefit of leveraging a cloud G Suite Identity Bridge is that you can eliminate one more piece of on-prem hardware, and at the same time, centralize user access to the on-prem and cloud-based resources used in your IT environment. When you’re ready to move your core identity provider to the cloud, we have that covered, too.

Learn More about Using the G Suite Identity Bridge

Learn more about the G Suite Identity Bridge and connecting on-prem the cloud with AD Integration by watching the tutorial video above. If you are curious about moving your identity management solution to the cloud, consider reading this short interview with Eusoh. Eusoh is taking advantage of JumpCloud’s G Suite integration and enjoying a fully cloud IT environment.  

Of course, you are also more than welcome to reach out to us with any questions you might have. If you’re ready to dive into testing the G Suite Identity Bridge, sign up for a free account. Your first ten users are on us, and you will have full access to all of our features.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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