Migrating Clients Off Active Directory

Written by Zach DeMeyer on May 29, 2020

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Are your clients hesitant to leave their Active Directory® (AD) infrastructure and move to the cloud? Or, on the flip side, do they want to shift everything to the cloud, but you don’t have the resources to make that shift? Migrating clients off Active Directory to a cloud directory service is made simple with automation tools.

Why Migrate Off AD?

Although Active Directory has served the role of core directory service for several decades, in light of modern IT innovations, its hold over identity and access management (IAM) has started to wane. Shortly after AD hit the IT market, it centralized authentication and authorization for all things on premises and Windows® based.

Since then, however, cloud resources and non-Windows systems have put a strain on AD’s efficacy. After all, while ideal for things within its domain, AD struggles to authenticate to Mac® and Linux® systems, cloud applications, non-Microsoft® infrastructure, and other modern resources that are becoming ubiquitous in IT environments.

MSPs with clients that leverage AD alongside these modern solutions need to purchase a handful of add-ons to compensate. These range from tools like web application single sign-on (SSO) solutions to mobile device managers (MDMs) and other software. Although critical for fulfilling a client’s IAM needs, these add-ons also rack up costs for the MSP and their clients.

Beyond these expenses, MSPs still need to physically attend to each client’s AD instance in order to configure and maintain it. This practice builds additional costs spent through truck rolls between client organizations, and ultimately presents a major time sink.

By migrating their clients off AD, MSPs find that they can leverage other solutions in lieu of the legacy directory service. Like other key MSP tools, such as remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions, a non-AD IAM option can be remotely maintained, and ideally forego many of the add-ons that AD needs to be effective in the modern era.

AD Migration Concerns

Both clients and MSPs alike share some concerns when considering migrating off Active Directory.


Some clients may be fully invested in their AD infrastructure on-prem, and have no desire to move off it due to fears over downtime amidst migration, or other issues arising from unfamiliarity with a non-AD product. Extending beyond these fears, some clients are concerned with the total costs of ownership of cloud AD alternatives, and even more concerned about potential security issues.


MSPs dealing with AD migration have slightly different concerns. Some MSPs may have clients that want to go full cloud, but the MSP itself may not want to be a cloud-based shop. Or, if they do want to adopt cloud solutions, the MSP may not have the time or the resources to migrate client AD instances efficiently.

AD Migration Utility

If tooling and cost concerns are preventing you from migrating your clients off Active Directory, we have something that may help. JumpCloud® offers a free tool that MSPs can use to port existing AD users/systems into a cloud Directory-as-a-Service® with little effort. 

This AD Migration Utility (ADMU) automates the process of migrating users and systems from AD and into a cloud directory service. The tool takes AD users on Windows® systems and creates a local account with duplicate files and settings to the original AD identity. Once the local account is created, ADMU uses Windows ADK to unbind the identity from AD altogether. After that, the ADMU downloads the JumpCloud system agent to the Windows machine, and establishes the user in the JumpCloud cloud directory service.

Once migrated, the users’ identities can then be managed completely from Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS), along with their access to systems, applications, networks, infrastructure, file servers, and more. DaaS also provides MSPs with a Multi-Tenant Portal (MTP), a single pane of administrative glass where they can manage all of their client organizations’ IAM needs.

Learn More

If you are interested in migrating your clients off AD for free, reach out to our Partner team to learn more about how you can leverage the ADMU at scale across all of your clients. You can also check out our Resources page for more information.

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