The Domain Controller is Dead.

Written by George Lattimore on January 25, 2019

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With the dramatic shift to the cloud pushing infrastructure onwards and upwards, many IT organizations are asking whether the domain controller is really dead and gone. It’s actually a great question to consider as most IT admins would never have dreamed that the concept of the domain would ever be in jeopardy of going the way of the dinosaurs. As we walk through this transformation, we’ll try to steer clear of any Nietzsche-related references, but some allusions could admittedly slip through the cracks.

Letting Go of the Traditional Domain

The truth is that just like how the network perimeter has evaporated, so has the traditional concept of the domain. When Microsoft® introduced Active Directory Domain Services® (AD DS) and IT admins set up the domain on-prem with their Windows® environments, end users would be able to login to their Windows laptop/desktop and simply connect to just about anything they had access to.

Traditional Domain

As the IT landscape started to change with non-Windows and cloud-based IT resources, the concept of the domain became less valuable. On-prem infrastructure shifted from a source of enablement to a source of limitation. One identity no longer let a user into their resources outside of Microsoft Active Directory’s control, and as Mac® and Linux® grew in popularity, the downside of Microsoft-only restrictions grew impossible to ignore.

Of course, IT admins and MSPs tried to make this work with add-on identity management solutions such as identity bridges, web application single sign-on, privileged identity management, and more. Stitching these add-on solutions together into a patchwork sail that existed on top of Active Directory was a viable short-term approach, but the ship was never built to sail very far. A different approach was needed to take IT organizations into a new age that could reunite productivity with security.

For IT—The Truth Doesn’t have to Hurt

While these add-on solutions helped solve some immediate problems, they actually added many others, including cementing IT organization’s on-prem with a limited identity and access management approach. Savvy IT organizations stepped back, saw the space growing between cloud solutions and on-prem domain controllers, and looked for an entirely new concept. The idea that emerged was to connect users to whatever they needed with one identity, regardless of the platform, protocol, provider, and location.

True Single Sign on

The concept was called True Single Sign-On™ and it no longer required an on-prem domain controller. Rather, this next generation Directory-as-a-Service® platform completely upended the traditional concept of the domain with the benefits of one identity to connect users to whatever they needed.

Directory-as-a-Service® from the Cloud Domain

How exactly does Directory-as-a-Service provide a single identity with SSO access to whatever resources are needed? By approaching the system as the gateway. JumpCloud is positioned in the cloud at the intersection of user convenience and identity security. Platform agnostic (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and protocol-driven (LDAP, SAML, RADIUS, Samba), Directory-as-a-Service securely manages and connects users to their systems, applications (O365, G Suite), file servers, and networks.

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