Few names in tech are larger than Google® and Microsoft®. As dominant players in the industry, the two companies constantly butt heads, but one of their biggest competitions lies in the productivity suite space.
When employees work from home, communication and collaboration are crucial to keeping organizations running smoothly, with users on the same page. That’s why many of today’s organizations turn to G Suite™ and Microsoft 365™ for their productivity suites.
Some organizations require both G Suite and Microsoft 365 (M365) because each productivity suite offers unique features that meet specific operational needs. Unfortunately, each solution requires its own unique identity for authenticating users. As the number of passwords users need grows, the possibility that one of those identities becomes compromised increases as well.
In light of this, some IT administrators wonder whether they can integrate common identities like G Suite and Microsoft 365 in order to secure and simplify their end users’ workflows. Armed with a cloud directory platform like JumpCloud®, IT admins can centralize their end users’ resources under a unified identity.
Before we dive into how it works, however, let’s examine why one would integrate G Suite with M365 or vice versa, and why an organization would use both solutions in the first place.
Why Integrate G Suite and Microsoft 365?
As previously mentioned, although they are competing products, G Suite and Microsoft 365 offer unique features that make both offerings appealing to organizations. This duality drives some organizations to employ both productivity suites to make use of these features simultaneously.
With both solutions at play, IT admins can integrate the two tools at the identity level to continue to leverage them independently while also consolidating their authentication requirements. Consolidating identities for tools like G Suite and Microsoft 365 provides several key benefits to an organization.
Productivity / Convenience
Ponemon reported in 2019 that, on average, individual end users spend over 12 minutes a week remembering, entering, and updating passwords. Although it seems inconsequential, once extrapolated across an entire organization, this time ends up causing significant losses in labor and productivity.
Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to the problem of lost time due to passwords. But, by reducing the number of passwords end users have to deal with through identity integration, admins can help remedy the issue.
For example, Microsoft 365 identities are managed through Azure® Active Directory®. IT admins can then funnel that identity to a user’s Windows® system through Active Directory® and the bridge technology between AAD and AD called Azure AD Connect. If that same identity is integrated with other logins like G Suite, end users save time by using a centralized password to access their system and productivity suite among other resources. On the flip side, Google identities also cover a wide range of web application resources through OAuth, so integrating it with Microsoft 365 makes authentication more convenient for those tools, too.
Reducing the number of passwords an end user has to retain also improves their identity security. Often, end users who have a lot of passwords to manage take short cuts, opting to use less-secure passwords for the sake of remembering them all. Although it makes their login processes easier, it also opens their identity up to compromise.
Instead of having to remember a host of passwords, identity integration allows end users to create stronger passwords that they can then use across multiple resources. If they can also leverage multi-factor authentication (MFA), then end users end up being more secure than if they used a different password for every login, which as we detailed above is problematic to execute.
Beyond its immediate effects, this account sprawl also takes its toll when an admin is offboarding a user. Without centralized identity management, IT admins need to jump around to a multitude of different services to deprovision a departing user’s account. Even if just one set of credentials slips through the cracks, the results can come back to bite an organization. You can find some recent examples of this phenomenon here.
Integrating G Suite and Microsoft 365
If you’re looking to integrate G Suite and Microsoft 365 using just Microsoft-based tooling, you will unfortunately need to seek a different way forward. The only way the tech giant has documented the process is by explaining how to move a former G Suite domain into a new M365 tenant. On Google’s side, they have put out additional server software that you need to host which can connect an on-prem Active Directory instance to G Suite. Of course, you would then need to extend AD to Azure Active Directory via Azure AD Connect to integrate your M365 identity. In short, it is complicated to try and leverage either of these competitors’ software to connect to the other.
Thankfully, organizations can use JumpCloud’s cloud directory platform to integrate G Suite and Microsoft 365 identities, as well as virtually all other IT resources.
How Does it Work?
JumpCloud can source identities from your existing G Suite and Microsoft 365 tenants, unifying them in a centralized cloud directory. Using the built-in APIs and the SAML and OAuth protocols, JumpCloud syncs those identities and any changes made to them back to both G Suite and M365, making JumpCloud the core identity provider.
From there, admins can also federate said identities to the other solutions in their tech stack, including:
- Windows, Mac®, and Linux® devices
- Web and on-premises applications through SAML and LDAP
- WiFi networks and VPNs through RADIUS
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service such as AWS
- File servers leveraging Samba
With JumpCloud, IT admins centralize end user identities under a single set of credentials, wholly reducing the time spent in an organization managing passwords while also ensuring security. JumpCloud also provides MFA through TOTP, Duo Push, and U2F keys to further secure organizational identities.
Try For Free
You can integrate your G Suite and Microsoft 365 identities through JumpCloud. Signing up for a JumpCloud Free account gives you full access to the platform for up to 10 users and 10 devices. Once you begin, you’ll even have 10 days of 24×7 live chat access to our expert support team to help get you up and running.