By Natalie Bluhm Posted April 6, 2018
Why would system management be in the identity and access management (IAM) category? It doesn’t make sense. Isn’t system management its own category? We’d argue the identity management category system management is not only within the IAM sector, but the deep tie between users and their systems should make system management and IAM tightly integrated.
System management being a subset of identity management didn’t just happen. In fact. It was Microsoft® who saw this opportunity almost two decades ago and capitalized on it.
System Management Two Decades Ago
The modern era of identity management kicked off when Tim Howes and his colleagues got together to create the LDAP protocol at the University of Michigan. That spawned two core directory services solutions – OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft Active Directory®.
While OpenLDAP focused on the authentication and authorization process of users to IT resources – namely highly technical ones such as Linux and Linux-based applications – it didn’t focus on managing the user’s systems.
Microsoft, on the other hand, added in the concept for Group Policy Objects (GPOs) to provide system management along with user management for Windows-based IT resources. GPOs would allow IT admins to disable or enable certain system behaviors, like whether or not users would have access to the control panel on a Windows system. The best part was GPOs didn’t require any scripting or coding. All IT admins had to do was check a few boxes and make a couple of clicks.
Of course, GPOs were strictly focused on Windows machines because, at the time, almost the entire enterprise consisted of Windows machines and applications. In this setup IT admins only needed one tool – Active Directory – and they could manage their users and what was going on with their Windows machines. IT admins could set security policies, execute tasks, and remotely manage their Windows fleet.
System Management in the Modern Era
Active Directory system management capabilities weren’t really seen as a key advantage in the identity management industry, until recently. The thing is, now there are two other major platforms to worry about – Mac® and Linux® – in addition to Windows. Of course, AD is a Windows-centric tool, so IT couldn’t use AD to manage Mac and Linux users and systems the same way they have with Windows machines.
The rise of Mac and Linux systems have only been part of the changes impacting the IT landscape. Consequently, IT organizations have needed to completely shift their strategy for user and system management. Their new approach has needed to encompass a wide range of platforms, protocols, providers, and locations. In addition, a user identity needs to connect to systems, applications, files, and networks with deep system management capabilities to ensure that a user’s identity is secure on their Windows, Mac, and Linux machine. With a user’s system being the conduit to a wide range of IT resources, it is more critical than ever that identity management include system management. The good news is increasing security doesn’t have to mean complicating user access to IT resources – at least, when you use the next generation identity management platform JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.
JumpCloud Steps up Security for Systems and More
JumpCloud integrates with any IT resource regardless of where it is, who it’s from, and what platform and protocols it uses. This independent approach allows IT admins to improve security and provide users with easy access to everything they need to do their job.
One of the biggest security improvements IT admins can make for their systems is to leverage the JumpCloud Policy Management feature. JumpCloud Policies allow IT organizations to dictate system behavior across their fleet of Mac, Linux, and Windows systems. For example, IT admins no longer have to rely on users to lock their system when they step away. Instead, IT personnel can click a few buttons in the JumpCloud admin console and set a screen saver lock policy across all of their Mac systems. JumpCloud Commands is another feature IT organizations can utilize to remotely execute tasks and has even been used to patch 4,000 machines in 90 minutes.
Lastly, JumpCloud integrates with all of the IT resources modern environments are leveraging. This allows IT organizations to centralize identity management, making it easier to ensure only the right people are accessing a company’s digital assets. This in turn provides users with One Identity to Rule Them All®. With one secure identity, users can access the following:
- Mac, Linux, and Windows systems
- Local and cloud servers
- Legacy and web-based apps
- On-prem and virtual file storage
- Wired and WiFi networks
If you find JumpCloud’s identity management category system management intriguing, feel free to explore our platform further by dropping us a note or signing up for a free account. Our free account gives you ten users free forever and full access to the entire platform.