Out With the Old, In With the New: Leveraging Active Directory for Cloud Servers & Infrastructure

By Rajat Bhargava Posted December 23, 2014


For a decade and a half, Microsoft Active Directory (AD) has been the user directory store of choice for organizations worldwide. In fact, some estimates suggest a full 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use AD. But modern companies know the older-fashioned technology was best suited for older-fashioned businesses. Newer tech-savvy companies, also known as cloud-forward companies, realize that AD directory technology is severely limited. It just does not meet the demands of modern enterprises.

Simply put, directories like AD and LDAP didn’t keep pace with critical new trends in technology. Specifically, they didn’t keep up with the movement to use cloud servers and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Consequently, legacy directories are quickly becoming outdated.

This is because cloud infrastructure is becoming a critical part of any organization. The scalable model with as-a-service components makes all SaaS solutions highly attractive to organizations given their reduction in cost and management overhead. However, as businesses increasingly use SaaS solutions, they must ensure the management and control to these technical cloud services remain intact and secure.

Of course, for many organizations, the security of their confidential information is intrinsically tied to their user directory service. Replacing an existing directory is a difficult but necessary decision.

Bridging the Old with the New

Leave it to the best engineers to figure out a way to make it work. For instance, JumpCloud’s engineers have built Directory-as-a-Service® capabilities that connect on-premises directories to the cloud without interrupting core business functionality or increasing vulnerability. They’ve done this by building an extension from the on-premise Active Directory user store to the organization’s cloud infrastructure. This allows companies to extend the directory service to the cloud without compromising security.

To make this transition happen, organizations simply place a lightweight agent on their Active Directory server to bridge the user store to the cloud. This enables control over authentication and authorization for IaaS components, other SaaS infrastructure services, and Mac / Linux devices. Further, and similar to AD, IT admins have the ability to manage those cloud servers.

The Benefits Don’t Stop with the Updates…

The benefits to IT admins increase after a company successfully bridges their directory service to the cloud. For example, through JumpCloud’s Identity-as-a-Service platform, IT admins can execute commands on Windows and Linux servers as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux laptops / desktops. IT admins can also simply add, terminate, or modify a user record in their core AD user store. And that change is propagated to their cloud server and application infrastructure. Finally, whereas antiquated on-premises directory services often required IT admins to manage users by hand, JumpCloud’s unified cloud directory automatically propagates new information quickly and seamlessly.

JumpCloud’s virtual identity provider extends the control and management that IT admins have over their internal infrastructure to cloud infrastructure services, thereby providing the necessary control, management, and security required for modern enterprise while simplifying the mirroring of users on cloud-based infrastructure. Please try JumpCloud® now. Your first 10 users will always be free.

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.

Recent Posts