By Kayla Coco-Stotts Posted January 7, 2020
Has Active Directory adapted to incorporate the explosion of technological innovation to provide the same overarching, dominant presence on all systems and applications? In an age where software updates and new systems are released at a rapid pace, it is important to evaluate whether Microsoft has been able to keep up. In short, the question for many IT admins is how to modernize Active Directory.
Active Directory in the Beginning
Active Directory® (AD) was introduced in 1999 and released with Windows® Server 2000. AD quickly became the industry standard for directory services, and by 2000, 97% of devices were running Microsoft® software.
AD has specialized in on-prem, Windows-centric domains for decades. While this is great for some organizations, many organizations still using AD today need more capabilities.
Is Active Directory Outdated?
As shown in the chart below, since the rise of the cloud, Microsoft’s market dominance has steadily decreased, making way for new mobile and desktop systems introduced by macOS® (iOS and OS X) and Linux® (Android).
Line graph courtesy of statcounter Global Stats
Even though the market is shifting to incorporate heterogeneous systems, AD still struggles with Mac, Linux, web apps, and cloud infrastructure. AD was not designed to be cloud-, macOS-, or Linux-friendly, forcing IT admins to add third-party solutions on top of AD to incorporate cloud-based applications and mixed-platform environments.
IT admins need add-on solutions to fill the holes in AD that have developed in the cloud era. These add-ons take money, time, and effort away from IT orgs. Additionally, AD doesn’t specifically support single sign-on (SSO), but there are add-on options like Azure® Active Directory, Active Directory Federation Services, and purchased third-party solutions that can resolve the issue. These also require extensive implementation hours and quickly add to the rising costs of modernizing AD.
Moving to the Cloud
There are options available for modernizing Active Directory without sacrificing usability or budget. Bringing AD to the cloud offers IT admins the chance to authenticate and authorize users on multiple systems and web applications without having to manage a number of third-party solutions.
JumpCloud®’s AD Integration feature allows admins to propagate identities from AD to Mac, Linux, and cloud resources using the AD Import agent. Users can write passwords back from said resources to AD using the AD Sync agent. AD Integration allows for IT professionals to sync users with G SuiteTM, Office 365®, and Azure AD while also extending AD users to cloud-based apps and services through JumpCloud’s cloud LDAP, RADIUS, and SAML auth services.
Find out how you can modernize Active Directory by extending AD identities to modern resources to lift AD to the cloud.
Interested in leaving on-prem infrastructure and leveraging directory services entirely in the cloud? You can schedule a personalized demo with us or sign up for free.