Is Google Identity Management taking on AD?

Written by Greg Keller on February 19, 2017

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Google’s new announcement for their cloud identity management product could be seen by some as trying to take on Microsoft’s Active Directory®. As many know, AD is a monopoly in the market with over 95% market share in the enterprise.

With that juicy of a target, it would seem that the G Suite platform would be taking aim at AD. They are, after all, trying to compete heavily with Microsoft Office 365®. Our take is that Google Identity Management Services solution is not trying to take on Active Directory, nor will it.

Let’s explain.

Microsoft Steers Pressure Toward Google Identity Management

Google’s history with enterprise products is checkered, to say the least. While Google Apps has been a huge hit, it is now feeling tremendous pressure from O365. As stated in some reports, it is not growing anymore. Microsoft may be slow to react, but when they do, they make it very difficult for the competition. According to their CEO, Active Directory is one of the most important products for their organization. So Google will be in for a significant fight.

Is Google Veering From Their Own Model?

Active Directory is not a plug and play product. There is integration, detailed configuration, and ongoing management. Google has largely stayed away from any products that require deep integration and anything remotely resembling professional services and support. Gmail was a fairly straightforward “set it and forget it” process. Using Google Apps is easy as well – nothing to configure, just end-user productivity applications.

What is going to happen when there is significant integration work and end users need to go through detailed steps? This is a far cry from Google’s model of high-scale, low-touch products.

G Suite Is Driving Their Target Market To The Enterprise

Another issue when thinking about whether G Suite Directory is really a replacement for AD is to think about the target market. G Suite is absolutely moving their target market up to the enterprise. And they want to compete with Microsoft for large O365 customers. AD will undoubtedly be a piece of that conversation. We know that trying to get large enterprises to part with their Active Directory installations will be difficult if not impossible. Many enterprises have integrated tightly with Active Directory, customized schemas, and built processes around AD. It will be interesting to see how Google’s Identity Management Services will deal with those issues.

JumpCloud® Fast-Tracks Identity Management Services

For many SMEs, there is a better approach to leveraging G Suite and Active Directory on-prem. Leveraging an independent IDaaS platform that integrates tightly with G Suite and has enough functionality and support to replace AD is a winning combination. When IT admins seek out a replacement to AD, they are looking to handle on-prem systems, applications, and networks as well as their cloud platforms. IT admins want a solution that works as cleanly with G Suite as it does with O365 or AWS. Mac and Linux devices should be first-class citizens like Windows. All of these issues are why IT admins have already been pairing G Suite or O365 with Directory-as-a-Service® rather than Active Directory.

Manage More with Google Identities

Drop us a note for more information on whether Google Identity Management Services is an Active Directory replacement. Alternatively, give our Identity-as-a-Service platform a try for yourself to see how it stacks up against G Suite Directory and Active Directory. Your first 10 users are free forever.

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