Getting Locked into the Google Cloud Ecosystem

Written by Ryan Squires on February 27, 2020

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Relying on the Google Cloud™ ecosystem is good for Google™, but perhaps not for you and your organization. We’re not just talking about the type of user data collection practices recently critiqued by Apple CEO Tim Cook:

“Every day, billions of dollars change hands, and countless decisions are made, on the basis of our likes and dislikes, our friends and families, our relationships and conversations. Our wishes and fears, our hopes and dreams… these scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded, and sold.”

But this article isn’t about what Google is doing with your data. It’s about getting locked into the Google ecosystem – specifically Google Cloud.

As you adopt more and more of the Google Cloud ecosystem, you get pulled into their orbit. Soon you’re unable to use non-Google products without considerable difficulty.

Let’s take a look at some of the risks inherent to getting locked into the Google Cloud ecosystem. 

You’re at the Whim of Google

When Google decides to increase prices, you’re the one that pays for it. And if you’re heavily reliant on their services, you may have no recourse other than simply paying the new cost. A rate increase from Google would not represent an unprecedented action, either. They increased G Suite prices last year and their own identity management solution, Google Cloud Identity Premium, charges people more after a year of use by default. 

Further, once you’re steeped in the Google ecosystem, they’ll look to sell you more services. And that’s a problem if their solutions don’t work as well with other software you may be considering. So instead of using the best, most innovative products, you might just find yourself using Google services because it’s easier. 

Using Google Identities for More 

If you utilize Google tools for all of your needs, when they decide to deprecate a popular feature you’ll have no remedy other than to look for alternatives. If you’re forced to find multiple alternatives, it will be difficult to manage your users and their numerous identities. 

The trick is to try and use your Google identities for more than just Google. That means using them for resources like web and legacy applications, macOS devices, VPNs, and more. Unfortunately, there isn’t much power you have to make this happen. All that you can do is hope that Google ends up supporting your choices in IT resources — unless you find a vendor-neutral alternative. AWS® and Azure® both allow access of their services with Google Cloud Identities, but there are restrictions that limit their functionality. Each company wants to lock you in after all, so creating a fluid identity that works between each provider remains more dream than reality unless you find the right solution. 

Moving On

For any combination of the reasons above, an organization may decide that it’s finally time to move on from the Google Cloud Ecosystem. But Google doesn’t necessarily make this easy. In many cases, cloud providers do not make their solutions easy to transfer between; they want you to stay in their ecosystem. 

The Google Cloud May Not Be Your All-In-One Platform

When you use Google Cloud services, you manage identities with Cloud Identity. The problem is, Google Cloud Identity only does so much. If you need to manage systems like Windows®, macOS®, and Linux® devices, you’ll be forced to add another solution altogether. That said, Google Cloud Identity Premium does offer some mobile device management (MDM) capabilities, but they’ve stopped short of providing deep system and user management for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. 

It Keeps You On-Prem

Sounds counterintuitive, right? As a cloud platform, you think you’d be able to leave on-prem tools and solutions behind. But, what if you’re syncing your identities from Active Directory® (AD) to Google Cloud? It is likely that Google Cloud won’t be able to provide all the functionality that you need unless it is paired with AD. Syncing identities between AD and Google Cloud also requires an additional server. 

Don’t Get Locked In

As stated previously, the trick is to use a single identity for as many resources as possible. Instead of getting locked into a single vendor, use a solution that can propagate your identities to all the resources in your environment including:

  • Systems (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  • Applications on-prem or in the cloud
  • File servers and other infrastructure
  • Networks via RADIUS 

Additionally, that same solution should enable you to:

  • Manage system security settings
  • Manage SSH keys
  • Apply MFA to as many resources as possible
  • Automate administration with PowerShell
  • Streamline onboarding/offboarding with provisioning

For organizations eager to implement one comprehensive solution for all the different vendors they want to use, look to JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. JumpCloud provides IT admins with a single location from which to manage all of their users no matter the resources they use —  and do it without collecting or redistributing your data. Plus you can also easily import all of your G Suite users into JumpCloud and push those identities out to virtually any resource in your environment. 

If you’re worried about getting locked in with JumpCloud, you’re free to use any service that you think can help benefit your organization. Having an identity “locked in” with JumpCloud is not the same as having one locked into Google. JumpCloud enables you to use that identity for all the resources and infrastructure that you have — now, and in future. JumpCloud centralizes your entire identity management approach, whereas Google silos it. 

Try JumpCloud Today

To avoid the complications of becoming too ingrained with a single provider for your identity management needs sign up for a JumpCloud account and see how it molds to your environment, not the other way around. Your first 10 users are free forever.

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