Google Cloud Identity Review

Written by Jon Griffin on May 13, 2018

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Google has been making a lot of headway with their Google Cloud Identity offering, so it’s time for a Google Cloud Identity review. What can Google Cloud Identity do for your environment? Can Google Cloud Identity completely replace your on-prem identity provider?

To answer these questions we need to take a look at Google’s intentions with their identity management platform.

Google Cloud Identity for Google Services

Google Cloud Identity Management

First off, Google Cloud Identity isn’t really a core directory service or identity provider. It is, however, a valuable user management platform for Google Apps that also offers web application single sign-on for a few, select sites. Google Cloud Identity can also manage a few types of devices like Android, iOS, and Chrome Browser. So, why did Google build their identity management platform this way? It certainly doesn’t seem to be following conventional approaches set by leading identity providers like Microsoft® Active Directory®. To understand Google’s approach to identity management, we need to discuss some history regarding G Suite™ (formerly Google Apps).

Google, G Suite, and Active Directory

Google has been a long time Microsoft competitor, so it’s not too far off to think that Google would try and compete against Microsoft’s leading identity management solution Active Directory. After all, Google was competing against Microsoft Office®, Exchange®, and Windows File Server® when they released G Suite. As most know, Google Apps was so successful that ultimately Microsoft was forced to respond with Office 365. However, when it comes to the identity management market and Active Directory, so far Google’s strategy has been to be more of a complement than a competitor. You see, Google created Google Apps Directory Sync (GADS) so IT admins could connect G Suite to Active Directory, allowing them to federate AD identities to G Suite. This helped ensure G Suite’s spot in the enterprise, and not compete with AD. So, when it comes to Active Directory, Google’s strategy so far has been to work alongside it, instead of replacing it.

Fast forward to today, and Google’s announcements around Google Cloud Identity and G Suite directory often conjure up thoughts of an AD replacement. Unfortunately, Google still hasn’t changed their strategy when it comes to Active Directory. Google Cloud Identity is largely focused on being a cloud identity management platform for Google Cloud Platform and G Suite. It doesn’t integrate with Mac, Linux, or Windows systems, on-prem file servers, or networks and legacy applications. These are the kinds of integrations organizations would need out of an AD alternative solution, in addition to being able to manage user access to Google services.

The good news is that there is a complementary solution to GCP and G Suite that can replace Active Directory. Called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, this cloud directory is reimagining Active Directory for the cloud era.

JumpCloud: A Directory Service for the Cloud Era

G Suite JumpCloud Integration

Instead of just connecting to one type of platform, provider, protocol, or location, JumpCloud integrates with any type of resource regardless of these aspects. Our cloud-based directory service connects with systems (Mac, Linux, and Windows), cloud and local servers (AWS, GCP, IBM), web-based and on-prem applications (Jira®, Salesforce®, GitHub), virtual and physical file storage (Dropbox, Box, NAS Appliances etc.), and WiFi and wired networks. So, no matter where they are, who provides them, and what protocols and platforms they leverage, you’ll be able to manage virtually all of your IT resources from a single pane of glass.

Additionally, JumpCloud tightly integrates with G Suite. This makes it possible for you to manage, provision, and deprovision your G Suite users alongside all of your other IT resources. Plus, you’ll even be able to extend G Suite identities beyond Google’s ecosystem and connect them to systems, apps, file storages, and networks. Essentially, a user’s G Suite credentials become their One Identity to Rule Them All®.

Finally, this identity management platform is completely cloud-based. It doesn’t require any on-prem hardware or software, so you no longer have to dedicate valuable time towards configuration, availability, and maintenance. It’s all taken care of for you by JumpCloud. All you have to do is enjoy going all cloud and utilizing a centralized, controlled IT environment.

Post Google Cloud Identity Review

Have more questions after reading this Google Cloud Identity Review? Drop us a note, and we’ll happily get back to you with some answers. If you’re interested in learning about the architecture behind our G Suite Integration, watch the video above. Prefer to do some more discovery on your own? Sign up for a free account. All of our features are available, and your first ten users are free forever.

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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