Recent Linux Releases: Desktop MFA & Security Commands

Written by Kelsey Kinzer on July 28, 2021

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Operating system diversity is a defining characteristic of today’s IT environments. Windows may have dominated historically, but enterprise Mac management has evolved in a meaningful way and Linux distributions have become a critical part of IT infrastructure. Cross-OS device management is here to stay, and presents a unique challenge for IT admins.

Linux in particular can be a complex beast to manage because unlike MacOS and Windows, it is not a proprietary OS and can be found across multiple distros. There are many benefits to this openness however, including cost, interoperability, and flexibility. These factors, and more, have led to a strong Linux following among its community of users. 

With an increasing number of employee workstations running a wide variety of Linux distros, administrators need a way to increase visibility into their fleets, and improve the management of not only Linux systems, but Mac and Windows as well. IT admins can use the JumpCloud Directory Platform to comprehensively accomplish these tasks, thanks to the recent Linux releases detailed in this article.

screenshot of ubuntu mfa

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Linux Desktops

Although JumpCloud Administrators could previously enable a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) requirement for Linux users logging in via SSH, now they can also enforce TOTP MFA for users logging into desktop Linux systems. This feature not only adds an additional layer of security, it provides complete MFA coverage across Linux servers and display managers. The distros supported by JumpCloud include:

  • Amazon Linux (2013.09-2018.03)
  • Amazon Linux 2 (AWS on ARM64)
  • CentOS 7, 8
  • RHEL 7, 8
  • Debian 9 (64 bit), 10
  • Ubuntu 18.04 (64 bit), 20.04,18.04 and 20.04 on ARM64
  • Mint 19, 20 Cinnamon (64 bit)
login screen
The user initiates the log-in process on their Linux desktop with a password.
login screen shot part 2
A TOTP is then also required to securely authenticate the user to their device.

Security Commands for Linux Machines

JumpCloud Administrators can now shutdown, restart, lock, or erase a Linux system from the admin portal. This feature allows for both better security and more effective remote device management in any scenario. Whether an employee accidentally loses their Linux machine, or gets locked out and needs a reboot, admins can efficiently (and remotely) address the situation before it interferes with organizational security or productivity.

Key Benefits of Recent Linux Releases

Improved Security & Regulatory Compliance

The addition of Linux desktop MFA and security commands to the JumpCloud Admin Portal provides IT admins with the ability to incorporate Linux devices cohesively into their environments. Admins can benefit from more granular control and more flexibility when it comes to implementing security policies for Linux fleets. 

Regardless of the type of compliance standards an organization has set for itself or is obligated to follow, having the chosen security features and policies in place through JumpCloud makes audits easier because all of the evidence is centralized in one place.

Complete Cross-Platform & Remote Device Management

IT admins no longer need to be managing—or paying for—individual point solutions for every OS. Instead, they can leverage JumpCloud to manage heterogeneous fleets from a consolidated, cloud-based console. 

For all types of combinations of Linux, Mac, and/or Windows devices, admins can enjoy comprehensive visibility and continuous telemetry that allows for an improved understanding of the fleet’s health and any potential security risks.

Learn More About Device Management with JumpCloud

Whether you’re an existing JumpCloud Administrator or an IT admin who is thinking about using JumpCloud, checkout the following whitepaper on our overarching approach to device management: The Five Key Components of Modern Device Management. This resource details the philosophy that drives our product roadmap and the feature releases for Linux, Mac, and Windows systems.

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