When it comes to provisioning new users in Google Apps, IT administrators have a couple of options. The first is to use the Google Admin console to manually add a new user. According to Google, this is the easiest method – and it probably is, if all you ever had to do was add a single user. But for anything other than the most basic IT corporate setups, manually adding a user is far from ideal.
Provisioning multiple users at once can be accomplished by importing a CSV file through the Google Admin console. This helps streamline the process for a larger number of users, but it still involves a lot of manual work for IT administrators, especially when those same Google Apps users need to be set up with corporate laptops, given access to WiFi, synced with other SaaS accounts, and a host of other IT resources.
Provisioning against the Google Apps API is really the key to setting up a scalable user management system with Google Apps and the rest of your IT infrastructure. There are many third party solutions that allow you to simultaneously provision users to other web- or SaaS-based applications. Some of these are open source APIs or APIs embedded within larger solutions, such as a single sign-on (SSO) solution. APIs give admins the ability to provision large numbers of users based on custom parameters to set usernames and pre-populate other fields, including nicknames, contact details, group assignments, and email lists.
If the Google Apps directory is the only place where you need to manage this type of information, creating customized APIs or leveraging some of the third-party ones that exist might be sufficient for your purposes. But if you need to maintain this information in sync with another directory that you use to authenticate and manage access to other IT resources throughout your organization, like apps hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Compute Engine (GCE), employee workstations, or other network services, then trying to use Google’s APIs is just going to make your life more complicated than it needs to be.
Given the challenges with maintaining a single, authoritative directory to manage user access to these disparate resources, most organizations could significantly benefit from a Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). DaaS provides an easy to implement and easy to manage solution that can simplify user provisioning to Google Apps, along with nearly every other IT resource across your organization. This includes things like provisioning and authentication for employee workstations (including Windows, Mac, and Linux systems), WiFi and RADIUS networks, other hosted and SaaS applications, and more.
JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service solution is focused on streamlining Google App provisioning and user management to keep your users’ identities in sync across your organization’s network, providing a one-stop-shop for user authentication for whatever resource needs to be accessed.
If you would like to learn more about how JumpCloud can centralize and simplify your identity and access management challenges, contact us and we would be happy to chat about your specific needs. Also, feel free to try it yourself with a free account. 10 users are free forever on JumpCloud.