Intune® & Azure® AD

By George Lattimore Posted April 7, 2019

Many have noticed that Microsoft® is starting to bundle Intune® and Azure® Active Directory® (AD) together. The question now is can these cloud solutions be replacements to on-prem solutions, or are they complementary to Microsoft’s existing solution set? The short answer is that Intune and Azure AD are complements to Microsoft’s Active Directory® and SCCM platforms.

Cloud Competitors Emerge

To understand Microsoft’s cloud IT management tools strategy, we need to step back and understand the overall architecture and approach that Microsoft is recommending. Historically, IT networks have been based on-prem with Windows® platforms and applications at the center. The result was that Microsoft dominated the IT management tool space with Active Directory for user management and SCCM for system management.

As the IT landscape started to shift to the cloud, new Microsoft competitors such as AWS® and G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) emerged and quickly became a force to be reckoned with. The popularity of these platforms pushed back on Microsoft to develop cloud infrastructure platforms such as Azure and Office 365™.

Microsoft Layers Vendor Lock-in

To support their cloud franchise, Microsoft started to build cloud IT management tools. But, in order to not step on the toes of their legacy customers or damage traditional revenue streams, Microsoft was careful not to replace their franchise solutions: AD and SCCM. The result was that Azure AD was a cloud user management system and web application single sign-on platform and Intune became their mobile device and application management solution. Strategically, Intune and Azure AD were positioned as complements to the on-prem AD and SCCM.

The challenge for IT organizations is not that these Microsoft solutions are ineffective—they all are excellent in their own right. The problem is that IT organizations are looking to shift their user and system management solutions to the cloud and for these solutions to be vendor-neutral. Since Microsoft has held onto protecting their on-prem server market stronghold, IT organizations are being motivated to find something 100% cloud-based and independent.

A Next-Gen Alternative

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® has emerged to fill this need directly, with over 50k organizations already entrusting their infrastructure with the next-gen directory solution. With JumpCloud, organizations are finding a standalone replacement for Active Directory that doesn’t require any third-party add-ons such as Intune. They can manage Mac®, Linux®, and Windows platforms centrally in the cloud directory, and unlike Azure AD, identities can be extended to cloud resources like AWS, and Google Cloud Platform™ (GCP). To make on-prem and web-based application authentication easier, SAML and LDAP authentication are built into the platform as well.

Some of the advantages of using JumpCloud over Azure AD are IT organizations being able to:

  • Replace on-prem AD Domain Services
  • Secure and manage AWS and GCP cloud resources
  • Authenticate and manage Windows 7 and 8.x
  • Natively authenticate and manage Linux and macOS®
  • Enforce macOS policies
  • Cross-platform full disk encryption policy and key escrow
  • Enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA or 2FA)

Explore the Platform for Yourself

Ready to try out Directory-as-a-Service for yourself and see how it works for your organization? Sign up for free, explore the platform, and never pay a dime for your first 10 users. If you have further questions about Intune and Azure AD or JumpCloud, send us an email, and our support team will follow up with details.

George Lattimore

George is a writer at JumpCloud, a central source for authenticating, authorizing, and managing your IT infrastructure through the cloud. With a degree in Marketing and an MS in Public Communications and Technology, George enjoys writing about how the IT landscape is adapting to a diversified field of technology.

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