Active Directory + JumpCloud = Full Identity Control

Written by Brandon White on September 13, 2020

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It’s a truth that most IT administrators know: Microsoft Active Directory® (MAD or AD), while effective in its original purpose, isn’t usually enough to secure and manage a modern organization’s technology infrastructure.

First released in 1999, AD was built in the era of Microsoft® domination. In the past two decades, it’s not just technology that’s changed — end users have, too. They need diverse tools that are easy to access from virtually anywhere in the world. Of course, IT admins then need to be able to manage this new approach to working in a way that’s secure and streamlined.

Don’t get us wrong — Active Directory helps users access a portion of the necessary tools — those that are primarily Windows-based. But if the end user is remote or using an unsupported operating system, forget it. That’s where integrating with a cloud directory service enables AD users to have access in all of the IT resources that a modern organization will inevitably require.

What Is Active Directory?

To fully understand JumpCloud®’s Active Directory Integration, let’s start with AD itself. AD is an on-prem directory service that helps administrators securely manage their Windows-based IT resources. AD stores information about network objects (e.g. users, groups, systems, networks, applications, digital assets, and many others) and how they relate to each other. 

Using AD, admins create users and manage their access to Windows® devices, applications, and servers. AD enables admins to control groups of Microsoft systems as well as enforce security settings and software updates.

To put it in terms of simple benefits, Active Directory offers these advantages: 

  • Greater control over Windows resources
  • Improved efficiency for users and admins compared to no directory
  • Security for Windows systems, networks, and data
  • Auditing and compliance reporting

Does AD Belong in a Modern Tech Stack?

AD’s place in a modern tech stack is based on the necessity of controlling identities and user access within the Windows ecosystem. 

Identity and access management (IAM) allows IT admins to manage which users can and can’t access each IT resource. At its most basic function, an effective directory service allows admins to quickly provision and deprovision user access to a wide range of IT resources. Additionally, it should enable group management so each team can access specific applications, files, and networks. This scalable and instantaneous management is what makes a directory solution essential to modern business functions. AD plays an important role in IAM but is generally limited to the Windows ecosystem.

Why Would I Need JumpCloud?

As we mentioned before, AD can rarely support the full needs of a modern organization. Today’s organizations are leveraging a wide range of innovative technology such as AWS, G Suite / Microsoft 365, web applications, Mac and Linux machines, and much more. As a directory service, it needs to be supplemented to enable true identity management.

Through JumpCloud’s AD Integration, admins gain full control, security, and flexibility of choice over their entire fleet of IT resources. By integrating AD with JumpCloud, IT admins can extend identities from on-premise domain controllers. Plus, users are able to securely log in to cloud-based and non-Microsoft resources with their AD credentials. 

Here are some of the highlights that JumpCloud brings to the AD table:

  • Functionality to support Mac & Linux systems
  • Easy configuration and full management ability
  • Access to VPN and WiFi networks via the RADIUS protocol
  • Easy password reset procedures
  • Low upfront costs
  • Complete connectivity to cloud apps & infrastructure

The end result connects users to a diverse collection of IT resources, including: Windows, Mac, and Linux devices, as well as both on-premises and cloud-based apps. If that’s not enough, a cloud directory also incorporates authentication protocols like LDAP, SAML, MDM, RADIUS, SSH, and more to provide complete authentication, authorization, and management.

Top 3 Reasons to Integrate AD and JumpCloud

If you’re wondering whether you should consider combining AD with JumpCloud, here are some of the top reasons our customers choose to integrate:

1. Extend Your Active Directory Abilities

If you’re already using Active Directory, chances are, you’re missing out on essential directory capabilities. Take what you’re already using and simply extend it. Connect AD identities to web apps, VPNs, wireless networks, servers in AWS®, Google Cloud, and more.

2. Create Unified Identities

Users crave simplicity, organizations require security. The perfect solution is a single identity for users to access whatever they need. Get easy, managed access to computer- or web-based applications, systems, servers, networks, and file servers.

3. Enjoy a Better AD Experience

Improve end user password management self-service and improve administrative efficiency by controlling AD users, groups, and more with a web-based admin console.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, integrating Active Directory and JumpCloud enables IT organizations and end users the flexibility and security needed by all.If you want to learn more about a truly flexible cloud directory service, drop us a note or check out whether you might be able to consider entirely replacing AD with JumpCloud. If you prefer hands on learning, try JumpCloud Free, connect up to 10 users and 10 systems, and receive 10 days of Premium in-app chat support as you evaluate total identity control.

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