Is there a Managed Alternative to Active Directory®?

By Jon Griffin Posted February 22, 2018

Is there a Managed Alternative to Active Directory®?

Modern day IT organizations are moving to more managed solutions than ever before. It comes as no surprise either, due to the sheer amount of work that IT admins can off-load to third party providers in the process. As the world continues to move to this managed solution style of IT, the big question is what’s next? The answer is the directory. Many IT admins are asking whether or not there is a managed alternative to Active Directory®, and in this post we will answer that question.

Why a Managed Active Directory is Desired

Why a Managed Active Directory is Desired

The identity and access management arena has been slow to make the move to the cloud and SaaS-based solutions. It’s not without good reason though. With security concerns about the storage of identities and a historical approach to on-prem identity management, the concept of a managed alternative to AD is one that takes some time for IT admins to get used to. Active Directory has been the core of all identity management strategies for almost two decades now, and not having total control over the solution would be scary. AD’s difficulties with connecting to resources that aren’t on-prem complicate the move even furthur.

The benefits of the approach, however, would be significant. With a managed alternative to Active Directory, IT organizations could off-load the installation, configuration, management, and maintenance of their AD instance. With this setup, IT admins would then be free to focus on their other core priorities, and could leave the responsibilities of taking care of the infrastructure to others. So do one of these setups exist?

Finding a Managed Alternative to Active Directory

Finding a Managed Alternative to Active Directory

Unfortunately, a completely managed Active Directory, or what some might call Active Directory as-a-Service, just doesn’t exist – at least not from Microsoft®.

What does exist from Microsoft is Azure® Active Directory. While many admins may think of it as a cloud version of AD, it actually isn’t the virtual replacement for the on-prem AD that IT is searching for. Effectively, Azure AD is more of a complement to Active Directory. The core identity is still stored within AD, and is federated to the cloud Azure AD platform. In fact, a Microsoft representative confirmed this on a Spiceworks thread. So unfortunately, Azure AD does not host your identity in the cloud and it isn’t a completely managed alternative to Active Directory. Does that mean that you should just stay with a on-prem directory though?

That isn’t a great route either. The challenges with the on-prem approach to Active Directory still exist today, and are only getting worse. AD struggles with non-Windows platforms such as G Suite™, AWS®, Mac, and Linux, among others. When these solutions are located in the cloud, it gets even more complex. As a result, many IT organizations end up struggling with managing user access to their entire IT infrastructure.

The good news, is that there is a managed alternative to Active Directory – it’s called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®. This modern approach to IDaaS is securely connecting users to their IT resources, and it’s doing it regardless of the platform in use (Windows, Mac, or Linux), protocol desired (SAML, LDAP, RADIUS, native OS APIs), the provider of the tool, and the location of the user or resource (cloud, on-prem, remote workers, etc.). To top it off, JumpCloud’s cloud-based directory is doing all of this from the cloud as a SaaS-based solution.

JumpCloud is a Managed Alternative to Active Directory

JumpCloud is better than a Managed Alternative to Active Directory

Don’t believe us? See it for yourself. Come try out a free account of the JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform and find out exactly why admins all over are switching to the directory built for modern IT. You get 10 users that are free to use forever, and we don’t even require a credit card to get them.

Interested in a live demo instead? That’s an option too. Sign up for our live demonstration of the platform here, where you can ask questions of the presenter directly. Alternatively, if you just want to reach out to us and ask questions about the platform one-on-one, you are more than welcome to do that too. You can find our contact information here.

Don’t settle for the hassle of a on-prem directory in the cloud forward world. Check out JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, and see how much easier the directory can truly be.

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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