Google IdP and Mac User Management

Written by Natalie Bluhm on April 4, 2018

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Macs have become a mainstay in just about every corporate environment. Whether IT admins are leveraging Microsoft® Active Directory® or Google as an identity provider (IdP), the main challenge is figuring out how to manage those Mac® users and systems. With Google’s cloud services growing and evolving, a common question is whether Google IdP and Mac user management is possible.

To understand whether this is possible or not, we need to dig into how the IT network has changed over the years.

Microsoft Dominated the IT Network

identity management active directory

A decade plus ago, the IT environment was all Windows® and located on-prem. Because of this structure, the identity provider was Microsoft Active Directory, and AD was optimized for on-prem Windows environments. This worked okay for a while, but then challenges started to pop up when the IT landscape experienced some major changes. Users wanted Mac laptops and desktops. The server environment shifted to Linux® servers hosted at AWS®. Web applications started to become more popular with G Suite (formerly Google Apps) leading the way in many respects.

These changes made IT admins think about shifting their entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. G Suite and AWS eliminated a large part of the on-prem IT management infrastructure. But, Active Directory remained.

As a result, Google’s approach is starting to shift. Google IdP, or G Suite Directory, has been introduced along with Google Cloud Identity. Now, the question becomes whether IT admins can leverage Google IdP as a replacement to Active Directory, and use Google IdP for Mac user management. While this may sound like an appealing solution, unfortunately, the short answer is no.

Managing IT Networks Requires More than Google IdP

G Suite Google Identity Management Challenges

Google IdP doesn’t enable Mac user management, and more importantly, it doesn’t operate as a core directory service either. Google’s intention has never been to compete with Active Directory, but rather to be a complement in the identity management space. However, there is an alternative to Google IdP that can replace Active Directory and offers Mac user management as well. This modern cloud identity management solution is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

A Cloud IdP with Mac User Management and More

mac user management

This cloud-based directory service is a reimagined Active Directory replacement that is built for the modern era. JumpCloud takes an independent approach that allows our identity provider to connect users to any IT resource. This includes the following:

In addition to centralizing user management to all IT resources, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service also offers deep system management with features like Commands and Policy Management. When using these features together, IT admins can automate tasks and dictate system behavior like whether or not USB storage devices are disabled.

G Suite JumpCloud Integration

Taking advantage of these identity management capabilities doesn’t mean you have to give up using G Suite. In fact, our cloud-based directory service uses an OAuth based API to tightly integrate with G Suite, providing IT admins with one pane of glass where they can provision, deprovision, and manage G Suite users. When JumpCloud’s G Suite Integration is used with our other IdP features, a user’s G Suite credentials can also be used for authenticating to the rest of their IT resources.

By using JumpCloud as your core identity provider, you’ll be able to move your identity management to the cloud and do more with your G Suite identities.

Learn More

Do you still have some questions about Google IdP and Mac user management? Don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Ready to see what JumpCloud’s heterogeneous system management can do for your IT environment? Consider signing up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever, and all of our system management capabilities are available along with the rest of our directory service 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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