Leverage Active Directory® for More than Windows

By Rajat Bhargava Posted April 1, 2017

Leverage Active Directory for More than Windows

As IT admins know, the IT market moves incredibly fast. New trends and technologies appear every few years. If core IT services don’t keep up with these trends, organizations that rely on them are seriously missing out on capabilities to innovate. These organizations simply cannot take advantage of the latest technology.

This is definitely being felt in the identity and access management space. Microsoft Active Directory® and LDAP are directory services solutions that haven’t kept pace with the critical new trends in technology, specifically, the movement to mixed platforms, cloud servers, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), WiFi, and more.

Directory Extension Technology

jumpcloud directory services cloud

There is a way to leverage new technology even if you are locked into Microsoft Active Directory. Many IT organizations can utilize a directory extension technology to integrate non-Windows platforms into AD. These solutions federate Active Directory identities to Mac systems, Linux servers, cloud infrastructure, and more. Also, they are not tied to on-prem IT resources as is the case with Active Directory. Directory extension solutions are also a valuable tool when thinking about migrating from Active Directory.

How to Extend AD to Macs, IaaS, & More

Active Directory Microsoft

Here’s how the solution works. A lightweight agent is placed on the Active Directory server or domain controller. This enables Active Directory users to be synced with the cloud identity management platform. Active Directory remains the master while the cloud directory is the slave. Users still change their passwords within Active Directory, but they are automatically synced to the cloud directory service.

Any users that you would like to federate to non-Windows IT resources can be grouped and synced to the cloud directory. The cloud directory service then takes those identities and provisions accounts on the Mac or Linux systems, LDAP-based applications, or WiFi networks via RADIUS. A user can then leverage their core identity to access whatever IT resources they need. While IT admins have one central authoritative user datastore, they can still connect their users to whatever they need.

As the number of Windows-based resources decreases, IT admins can ultimately make the decision to decommission their Active Directory server. The cloud identity management platform can also service Windows-based systems and applications. The directory extension becomes an interim step to synchronize identities from AD to the cloud directory. Once the identities have been migrated over, the IT organization can then replace Active Directory at the time of their choosing.

Leverage Active Directory for More than Windows via JumpCloud®

jumpcloud active directory extension diagram

If you are interested in using more technology than just Windows-based systems and applications but are stuck with Active Directory, drop us a note. We’d be happy to walk you through how you can leverage a cloud identity management platform to go beyond Windows.

Check out the self-guided demo video to see it in action. Since your first 10 users are free forever, sign up for a free Directory-as-a-Service® account today.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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