GPO (Group Policy Object) Competition

Written by Zach DeMeyer on June 15, 2018

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The concept of Group Policy Objects (GPO) has been a brilliant one for Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). The ability to manage user controls on an as-needed basis for Microsoft Windows®-based users and systems is ideal for many IT admins. As the IT landscape has shifted away from Windows to other platforms, however, IT admins have come to discover that the traditional concept of GPOs can be limiting. Due to this, a question has cropped up among IT admins: is there GPO competition in the market that is cross-platform?

The short answer is, yes, there is a GPO-like alternative. It is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® and it is delivered from the cloud for on-prem, web-based, and remote IT resources, including Windows, Mac®, and Linux® systems.

GPOs in the Beginning

GPOs are a core part of the value of AD in IT networks. IT admins use GPOs to execute tasks, increase security, and baseline configurations to their standard. GPOs enable IT organizations to quickly and easily enforce standards on their fleet of Windows systems, improving portability, scalability, productivity, and deployment. Not surprisingly, IT admins found this approach to be highly advantageous, and AD GPOs quickly became the de facto standard for group-based policy management for most IT organizations –– at least as far as IT admins are concerned.

It makes sense why GPOs quickly became the market-leading standard in how to manage a fleet of Windows machines. Active Directory was the standard for identity services in Windows networks, after all, and we all know that Windows was the standard operating system within organizations for many years. So, the idea that IT admins leveraged GPOs makes a lot of sense when you think about the trickle down impact of Microsoft’s dominance.

A GPO for the Future

network connection

Over the last decade, however, Microsoft’s dominance has been waning. Mac and Linux machines are more popular than ever; ComputerWorld predicts that macOS system sales will overtake Windows sales by 2019. Additionally, traditional on-prem resources have migrated to the cloud with web-based data centers like AWS® or Google Cloud Platform, further weakening Microsoft’s hold on the market. The ultimate challenge for IT admins, however, has been around endpoint management. GPOs only work for Windows, so how does IT manage Mac and Linux? Further, the problem extends past system management to also include user management, as AD struggles with user management for Mac and Linux. What are IT admins to do?

GPO Competition: Directory-as-a-Service

The good news is that there is an alternative to GPOs that effectively delivers a similar type of value, except it’s effective across all three major platforms. This GPO alternative not only does system management for Mac and Linux fleets, but also handles Windows. The same solution controls user access on systems, applications, files, and networks, as well.

Modern system management IT

This cloud directory is none other than JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. With JumpCloud, managing user groups as well as systems, no matter the platform, is a breeze. It also provides access to RADIUS network controls, True Single Sign-On™, multi-factor authentication, and more, all in one cloud-based solution. What’s more, you can try all of JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service for up to ten users for free. Does this GPO competition seem too good to be true? You can schedule a demo or contact us to learn more.

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