Logging into a Linux System with G Suite Password

Written by Zach DeMeyer on July 27, 2020

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With many organizations relying on G Suite™ as their core productivity suite, IT administrators wonder whether their users can log into their systems using their G Suite passwords Specifically, for those interested in automating their Linux® management, the possibility of logging into a Linux system with a G Suite password could help save time and money.

Why Use G Suite Passwords for Linux?

G Suite has over 2 billion users, making it one of the most ubiquitous productivity suites on the market today. Because it provides email, document editing, collaboration, and file storage through a single platform, it would make sense to integrate G Suite into the system level as well. This is largely due to the fact that the system, regardless of operating system, is the user’s gateway to all of their other resources, including G Suite.

Although Linux system adoption has remained fairly flat for the past few years, the OS proves popular among technical users like DevOps engineers. Often, those that prefer Linux choose to use it for life, so any amount of Linux infrastructure in an environment usually needs to be managed long term.

Integrating Linux systems with G Suite allows admins to centralize a crucial step of Linux management: identity control. By managing passwords and SSH keys, admins can ensure that only the right users have access to Linux systems. And, with credentials synced between G Suite and Linux, admins and users have fewer passwords to remember. That means fewer access-related help desk tickets and reduced temptation for the end user to skimp on password complexity for the sake of convenience. Of course, there are many other facets to Linux management, but we’ll get to those in more detail in a moment.


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Using G Suite Passwords for Linux

Organizations interested in using G Suite passwords to log into Linux machines have a couple of options.

OS Login

OS Login is Google’s answer to Linux logins with G Suite passwords. Using an OpenSSH server, OS Login synchronizes a user’s Linux account with their existing Google Cloud Identity. Then, the tool uses a Name Service Switch (NSS) to relay identity information back to the system, creating parity across both platforms. Admins can also leverage OS Login’s Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAMs) to control the user’s access and authorization rights.

Although useful for applying G Suite passwords to Linux logins, OS Login cannot perform any additional Linux management functions. Beyond password and SSH key management, IT admins also need the ability to configure and secure their Linux machines, including controlling patches and hardening systems. Additionally, admins should be able to monitor their Linux infrastructure to ensure that their configurations are in place and working properly.

Organizations with these common to-dos will need to look beyond OS Login for an additional Linux management tool. Unfortunately, some organizations may not have the budget to support a hodge-podge of various solutions, making the prospect of a unified tool a welcome one.

Cloud Directory Service

A cloud directory like JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS) presents a unified, cloud-based solution for managing Linux systems, including the ability to log into them using a G Suite password. Using DaaS, IT organizations can fully sync their G Suite directories with the cloud directory service, creating a single source of identity truth. That centralized identity is the user’s ticket to virtually all of their IT resources, including their Linux machine and G Suite account, as well as their applications, networks, file servers, and more.

Regarding Linux specifically, DaaS uses an agent downloaded on the system to push identity and access control changes to the OS and configure system settings through group-based policies. DaaS also includes a full-suite SSH key management solution that allows admins to restrict user Linux access to public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates.

In order to monitor Linux machines after their initial configuration, admins can employ JumpCloud’s premium Directory Insights™ and System Insights™ tools. These grant access to full event and system configuration logs across the admin’s entire DaaS instance that can be used to ensure that the proper security measures are in place. 

Try JumpCloud Free

To consolidate your identity and access management needs, consider giving JumpCloud a try today. Your first 10 users and systems in the platform are free forever, with premium Directory and System Insights on them at no extra cost.

Just sign up for JumpCloud to get started. You can also reach out to us to see the platform in action before you try.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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