Cloud-based applications and remote working have proliferated in modern workplaces. This means IT administrators need new approaches to secure these expanded attack surfaces.
The traditional approach to IT no longer serves organizations — but new cloud-based models offer a path forward that ensures both organizational security and user productivity. JumpCloud CEO Rajat Bhargava, MediaOps CEO Alan Shimel, and Accelerated Strategies Group CEO Mitchell Ashley recently hosted a webinar to discuss the future of security and productivity in our newly remote world. Here’s a recap of what they had to say.
Evolution of IT & Remote Work
Organizations historically relied on the Active Directory® domain and its associated hardware to secure users and devices. However, as users and devices become increasingly mobile, applications and other essential IT resources shift to the cloud, and now with the dramatic shift to remote work, the on-premises network is no longer the most modern approach to IT.
Bhargava, Shimel, and Ashley predict the shift to remote work will be permanent for many organizations because it gives users more flexibility in their lives and organizations the ability to hire from a global talent pool.
“Individuals can work from where they want to work,” Bhargava said. “They can be in places that are meaningful to them. Organizations are changing their models.”
Shimel added that he predicts more hybrid working, in which users split their working time between their offices and their homes and have more flexibility to adjust their work-life balance: ”This affords us the opportunity to dial that in much more than we’ve ever had.”
What this means is that admins need ways to secure users and devices whether they’re in the office, at home, or elsewhere. Instead of using the on-prem domain and tunneling users and devices back into it, admins can use new platforms to secure them from anywhere.
“We need a new approach to IT and to security,” Shimel said. “The new model is domainless.”
Moving Forward: Domainless Enterprise
Instead of using the Windows® domain to secure users and devices, organizations can now go domainless. The core of the domainless IT model is a cloud directory platform, which admins use to manage user identities, access, and devices seamlessly, regardless of location.
They use the cloud directory platform to provision users to their IT resources and verify those users’ identities. They also use the cloud directory platform to secure user devices and each connection between their devices and their permitted IT resources, including SaaS applications, cloud infrastructure, and any remaining on-prem resources, like file servers.
Cloud directory platforms are designed to integrate with virtually all IT resources and without the need for third-party identity bridges. Instead, they incorporate industry-standard protocols and APIs to communicate with IT resources directly.
“One of the big differences from the domain to domainless is that you’re relying entirely upon APIs, standards, and open-source ways of intercommunicating between systems, whether it’s for authentication or whatever it might be,” Ashley said.
From this central platform, admins can use layers of security — including conditional access policies and multi-factor authentication (MFA) at access points — to secure access to resources. They can also deploy policies and commands to configure and secure devices, regardless of operating system. These measures help ensure the security of organizational data, regardless of where users work.
Every IT transaction is secured in this model, regardless of location or resources. Users must verify their identities and work on secured devices and networks to access their permitted resources.
“Those are all fundamental constructs that are going to be there, regardless of the individual services that are used or platforms that are used,” Bhargava said.
This security shouldn’t compromise the user experience, though. Via developments like conditional and passwordless access, users can verify their identities quickly and easily.
“Just because we have more security does not necessarily mean we’re going to have less productivity,” Shimel said.
Transitioning from the domain model to the domainless model doesn’t have to disrupt your IT operations. Instead, you can take a step-by-step approach to transition your existing users, devices, and IT resources to a cloud directory platform over time.
At JumpCloud, we’ve developed a guide to going domainless, which includes a list of environments that are primed for a transition to the new model and instructions for doing so. Click here to read the Roadmap to the Domainless Enterprise.
You can also watch the webinar in full: