GPOs from the Cloud

Written by Vince Lujan on February 28, 2018

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The cloud era has brought about a number of changes with IT management infrastructure. One area in flux is the system management arena. Why, you ask? IT admins have traditionally leveraged Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) to manage systems via Group Policy Objects (GPOs). However, as more organizations move to Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions, IT admins can’t help but wonder if they can deploy GPOs from the cloud.
The good news is that JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® offers cross-platform GPO-like capabilities from the cloud. We call them JumpCloud Policies. We’ll dive into the benefits of JumpCloud Policies in this blog, but first, we should talk about GPOs from a high level.

The Origins of Group Based Policy Management

IT admins have Microsoft to thank for the modern concept of group based policy management. This concept is referred to as Group Policy within the Active Directory platform. Group Policy Objects are the manifestation of this concept.

What are GPOs?

Why GPOs from the Cloud are needed

GPOs are basically templated scripts and commands that control Windows system behaviors.
IT admins use them to configure system policies like screen lock timeout, USB port functionality, and a lot more.
One of the key benefits of GPOs is that IT admins can remotely configure a wide array of Windows based system behaviors.
Yet, perhaps the greatest benefit is that GPOs can be applied to fleets of Windows systems from one central management platform (e.g., AD).

Limitations of GPOs

The issue with GPOs is they are effectively limited to Windows-based systems, that is, without the help of third party directory extensions (i.e., Identity-as-a-Service).
Another issue is inherent to the Microsoft platform itself in that AD requires a wealth of on-prem IT infrastructure that must be managed in house.
To be fair, these examples weren’t always considered issues. After all, this sector has historically been on-prem and Windows-based as well.
Nevertheless, as modern IT resources move away from an on-prem Microsoft foundation, there is a growing need for cross-platform GPOs from the cloud.
The bottom line is that modern system environments are heterogeneous. Therefore, any solution that focuses on a particular platform will never be more than a partial solution, at best.

Next Generation Group Based Policy Management

Next generation group based policy management GPOs from the Cloud

The good news is that JumpCloud Policies can offer group based policy management from the cloud.
In other words, IT admins can leverage JumpCloud Policies to manage and control systems via templated scripts, commands, and policies.
The best part is that JumpCloud Policies have expanded to the concept of GPOs to include Linux, macOS, and Windows based systems.
Add to that, the fact that JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service can also eliminate the majority of on-prem infrastructure in favor of a comprehensive cloud alternative, and it’s easy to see how JumpCloud Policies are superior.
Check out the following whiteboard presentation to learn more about JumpCloud Policies.

More Information about JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service

Get Started and Learn more about JumpCloud's GPO's from the Cloud

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is Active Directory and LDAP reimagined. In other words, JumpCloud securely manages and connects users to their systems, applications, files, and networks.
The key advantage with the JumpCloud platform is that IT admins can choose the best IT resources for the organization, without having to worry about platform, provider, protocol, or location.
In essence, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service puts the power to manage modern IT networks back where it belongs – in the hands of IT admins.  
Contact JumpCloud or schedule a demo to learn more. You can also sign up for a JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service account and deploy cross-platform GPOS from the cloud today. Your first ten users are free forever, and we don’t even require a credit card to sign up. Make the leap to the cloud today!

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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