Do I get Directory Services with Office 365?

Written by Rajat Bhargava on August 2, 2016

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Millions of organizations are moving to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365.

The move from the on-premises Microsoft Exchange and Office suites to the new, cloud-based O365 has been a brilliant move for Microsoft. It is generating more revenue and profits for them, locking their customers in more deeply, and taking a bite out of Google’s dominance with their Google Apps for Work platform.

In short, it has been a home run for Microsoft.


The jury is still out for whether it is a boon for end users.

Reportedly most end users aren’t using the cloud interface to Office 365, but still maintaining their on-device Office suite. Of course, if Microsoft is making more money that means that typical organizations are paying more.

With the shift to the cloud, though, IT organizations are wondering what else they get from Microsoft. A common question we hear is this:

“Do I get directory services – or AD – when I move to the cloud with O365?”

The simple answer is that you won’t get directory services in the way that you think about them – central user management across your devices, servers, applications, and networks all in one package.

You will get a ‘mini-directory’ that will support your users on O365 and Azure – this is often referred to as Azure Active Directory. If you are interested in continuing to control your on-prem Windows machines then you’ll still need AD installed at your office.

If you are looking for management of other platforms such as Macs, Linux, Google Apps, and others, then you are out of luck. Both Active Directory and Azure AD are challenging to make work in that scenario.

With so much IT infrastructure moving away from Windows and onto the cloud, it should come as no surprise that the most effective way to manage all of this is with a cloud-based directory.

Directory Services Moving to the Cloud

Cloud migration – especially Office 365 – is generally a move by IT organizations to shift the way that they are operating. These organizations are searching for more agility, flexibility, and performance.


They generally find it with a new approach to IT.

Traditionally, Microsoft has owned the IT space with their dominance with Windows. Also, organizations were largely based on-premises with their machines, applications, and network all residing in their office (or attached with a data center).

Today’s modern organizations no longer operate that way – they are leveraging multiple platforms including Apple Macs, Linux, Google Apps, and more. They are shifting their on-prem applications to cloud-based, SaaS applications. Their networks are changing from hardwired Ethernet to WiFi networks and, perhaps as importantly, their users are working from anywhere.

Centralizing user management for all of these various IT resources takes a new generation of cloud-based directory service called Directory-as-a-Service®.

Now You Can Get Directory Services with Office 365

JumpCloud has reimagined the directory for the cloud era. Tightly integrated with Office 365, JumpCloud’s cloud hosted identity provider is the perfect complement to the move to the cloud with O365.

JumpCloud and Office 365

JumpCloud integrates with the major platforms your organization is using including Windows, Mac, and Linux. Cloud infrastructure at AWS or Google Compute Engine is no problem – it too is centrally managed. Legacy LDAP and SaaS SAML-based applications are also matched to your user identities.

Security is a prime issue and supported functionality such as RADIUS-as-a-Service and multi-factor authentication.

Acting as a unified cloud directory for all of your various IT resources, JumpCloud’s Identity-as-a-Service platform allows your organization to securely connect user identities to variety of IT resources you own without being locked-in to one vendor.

Upgrade Your Office 365 with Directory Services Today

If you would like to learn more about how to get directory services with your move to Office 365, drop us a note. Or, feel free to give JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service a try – your first 10 users are free forever.

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