By Vince Lujan Posted June 12, 2018
Is a hosted endpoint management solution a viable option for modern IT organizations? IT admins would certainly like to know, especially those that are struggling to manage cross-platform system environments. Well, the answer is yes––there is a hosted endpoint management solution available for modern IT organizations. However, before we introduce this solution, we should define endpoint management since the term can be confusing.
What is Endpoint Management?
Vendors have used the term to describe everything from anti-virus technology to configuration management solutions to remote desktop management. We are taking a more traditional view of endpoint management in this article by referring to the ability to manage Windows®, Mac®, and Linux® machines through changing configurations, setting security policies, and enabling functions such as drive mapping and connecting to printers.
This view may sound familiar as it is the one that was taken by Microsoft® early on when they were thinking about their solution — Active Directory® (AD) — and their GPO (Group Policy Object) functions. Of course, IT admins know that AD GPOs only work for Windows systems. Further, AD’s approach to identity and system management assumed that there was a direct connection to the system, which made it difficult to manage remote users and systems. Nevertheless, AD helped to establish what many consider to be the modern concept of endpoint management.
Modern Endpoint Management Challenges
Over the last decade, the IT environment has shifted from a predominantly Windows-based network to something more heterogeneous––including Mac and Linux desktops, laptops, and servers. Also, the data center has shifted to cloud infrastructure such as AWS® and GCP™ (Google Cloud Platform™). All of these various systems and locations have challenged traditional endpoint management solutions such as Active Directory and SCCM® (also from Microsoft).
To be fair, there are third-party add-on solutions such as identity bridges, web application single sign-on (SSO), privileged identity management, and more, which can extend AD identities to the IT resources that cannot be managed with AD alone. However, this approach adds significant cost and complexity to the overall identity management puzzle. Add the fact that modern IT organizations are seeking to shift their entire on-prem identity management infrastructure to the cloud, and we can start to understand the appeal of a hosted endpoint management solution, especially if it supports cross-platform environments.
Next Generation Endpoint Management
The good news is that a new generation of hosted endpoint management system is emerging to solve the problem of being able to manage mixed platform fleets of systems from the cloud. This approach is enabling IT organizations to have one solution to cover a variety of different platforms and the locations of those platforms. Further, this SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) endpoint management solution is also a cloud identity provider (a.k.a., a cloud directory), which offers a more comprehensive solution, including centralized user management, True Single Sign-On™, Cloud LDAP, Hosted RADIUS, and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Specifically, as it relates to endpoint management, IT admins can set password complexity policies, enable security settings, disable guest user access, and execute a wide variety of other endpoint management tasks via ad hoc scripts or commands. Logging whether actions were successful or unsuccessful and exit codes is also available. In doing so, IT admins effectively have full remote control over Mac, Linux, and Windows endpoints regardless of their location.
All of this and more is possible with the JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® platform.
Learn More About Hosted Endpoint Management
Hosted endpoint management is a core function of the JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform. Sign up for a free account or schedule a demo to see this functionality and more in action. We offer 10 free users to help you get started at no cost to you or your organization. Don’t hesitate to contact JumpCloud if you have any questions, or check out the following video for more information about managing systems with JumpCloud.