Group Policy for Macs

Written by Vince Lujan on February 24, 2018

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Group Policy for Macs would be a dream come true for IT admins. Group Policy Objects (GPOs) have been a foundational component of system management in Active Directory. But GPOs are Microsoft constructs designed exclusively for Windows® systems. As Mac (and Linux) systems continue to gain popularity, there is a growing need for a Mac group policy equivalent.

The good news is that a next generation cloud identity and access management (cloud IAM) platform has arrived that can provide group-based policy management for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. The solution is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. However, before we explain the benefits of Group Policy for Macs, we should step back and outline the significance of traditional GPOs for Windows.

Traditional Group Based Policy Management

cross-platform device management

Microsoft pioneered the concept of Group Policy when they introduced the Active Directory® (AD) platform in 1999. Group Policy Objects are the manifestation of this concept. GPOs are effectively templated commands and scripts that enable IT admins to configure screen lock timeout, disable USB ports, and control a wide array of Windows system behaviors. In essence, they enable IT to manage fleets of Windows systems from one central management platform.

Group Policy is definitely a powerful function of the AD platform. The challenge is that GPOs cannot be applied to non-Windows systems without the help of add-on tools. That means IT admins will have to devote significant time and resources to configure the same system policies granularly on Mac and Linux, or add complexity with multiple add-on solutions.

Another issue for cloud-forward IT organizations is that GPOs are deployed from AD on-prem. In other words, IT must be willing to accept the cost and hassle of AD on-prem, all the while knowing that it can only solve part of their system management needs.

Ideally, IT admins would be able to deploy GPO-like capabilities for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems from one comprehensive identity management solution. It would be even better if they could do so from a holistic cloud-based IDaaS platform that was designed for modern IT networks. Enter JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service.

Group Based Policy Management for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Modern system management IT

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is a holistic cloud IAM platform that securely connects users to their systems, applications, files, and networks. GPO-like capabilities for Macs, Linux, and Windows come standard. These GPO-like capabilities are referred to as Policies in the JumpCloud admin console.

JumpCloud Policies provide cross platform system management capabilities that are akin to AD GPOs for Windows systems. The key difference is that JumpCloud Policies support cross platform system environments. Another huge advantage is that IT organizations can effectively eliminate the majority of their on-prem identity management infrastructure in favor of a comprehensive cloud alternative.

Check out our whiteboard presentation to gain an in-depth understanding of JumpCloud Policies and how they can benefit modern IT organizations.

Policies are Only The Beginning

The greatest advantage of choosing JumpCloud is the broad range of capabilities that the platform offers. Cross platform GPO-like Policies are just one of many features of Directory-as-a-Service. We invite you to click on any of the following links to see what else our platform has to offer:

Cloud Directory ServicesUser ManagementDevice Management
IT Automation Via API ServicesGroup ManagementSingle Sign-On
Cloud RADIUS ServerPassword ManagementLDAP-as-a-Service
Event Logging APIOffice 365 IntegrationMulti-Factor Authentication
AD IntegrationSamba and NAS AuthenticationPolicy Management

Learn More About Group Policy Alternatives for Mac

Get Started and Learn more about JumpCloud

Contact the JumpCloud team to learn more about Group Policy alternatives for Mac. You can also sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account and start managing your cross platform environment with GPO-like capabilities today. Your first ten users are free forever so that you can explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost. Get started now.

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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