By Jon Griffin Posted August 28, 2017
It’s no secret: IT infrastructure is moving online, to the cloud. The benefits from using the cloud are tremendous, allowing organizations the ability to have a more mobile workforce, less on-premise infrastructure, quicker workflow, more connectability, and much more. SMB’s are clamoring to move as much as they can to the cloud, and large enterprises are starting to make the transition as well. With such a massive movement clear to see, it’s important to consider how it will affect you. Is your IT infrastructure capable of keeping up with the demands to move online? What steps do you need to take to help your organization make the move? What parts of the infrastructure should be moved first?
What Infrastructure is Moving Online?
There are a lot of questions when looking at moving resources and infrastructure online, and rightfully so. There is so much going on in the cloud movement that it can be hard to keep up. In fact, a recent CITO Research study found that 81% of IT leaders were very concerned about missing advancements in the cloud. Because of this clear desire for information, we at JumpCloud have been creating blog posts that help inform people on advancements in the cloud and what they can expect. As a company with a mission to centralize and secure cloud infrastructure, specifically your identity management components, JumpCloud has been studying and innovating in the cloud space for years, and with that expertise we hope to offer informative posts that you can use to better your knowledge of the cloud space. You can find a list of the online infrastructure focused blogs below:
- Online Single Sign-On
- Online System Management
- Online Identity Management
- Online RADIUS
- Online Directory Services
- Online Active Directory
- Online SSH Key Management
In the following sections, we will break down each topic to provide an introduction and insight into what each post contains.
Online Single Sign-On
When Single Sign-On first emerged, IT resources were still hosted on-premises and everything fit neatly under the Active Directory® umbrella. This first generation of SSO provided end users with easy access, improving the employee quality of life. But once applications started to move to the cloud, AD started to lose some of that functionality. These applications couldn’t be connected to through the on-prem network, and they weren’t Windows®-based either, which went against Microsoft®’s “lock in” strategy. Many services stepped up to fill this gap with online SSO, but those are extremely limited in their own right and have presented other challenges. To learn more about these challenges, the state of SSO, and what the future of SSO looks like, check out our post Online Single Sign-On.
Online System Management
Windows system management is at the core of what Active Directory has to offer. IT admins can control everything about a Windows machine they could ever need, much of it through the Group Policy Object (GPO) function. Unfortunately, this system management prowess doesn’t transfer over to Mac and Linux machines. Fortunately, by leveraging a cloud system management solution, it is possible to manage Windows, Mac®, and Linux® machines all from a single web-based platform. To learn more about moving system management to the web, check out our post Online System Management.
Online Identity Management
Identity Management has long been foundational for IT, allowing admins to maintain proper access for on-prem sources throughout the enterprise. However, the process of managing identities that are on the web is much different. It requires features and protocols that AD doesn’t provide, and because of this, many IT admins have started looking for a way to switch to cloud identity management. By gaining the capability to manage online identities, IT admins are able to regain control over end users access to web applications and resources. To learn more about moving identity management to the cloud, check out our post titled Online Identity Management.
The RADIUS protocol has been around since 1991 (Wikipedia), and is used to authenticate and control access to various pieces of networking gear. What began as dial-up access and account management has long since changed into what we see today, with everyone managing their own wireless networking equipment. This networking management requires additional time and resources from IT admins, who have to ensure that users don’t have friction signing in, the network is secure, and that it can provide access to the applications needed. Fortunately, there is a new class of RADIUS solutions emerging in the market that make these management processes much easier. You can learn about these new methods that help IT manage their WiFi infrastructure by checking out our post titled Online RADIUS.
Online Directory Services
Directories have typically been on-prem set-ups that require manual installation, continuous maintenance and supervision, as well as multiple instances for redundancy. Having a directory service be online is actually a quite new concept. But, as the enterprise continues to change to having applications and servers in the cloud, in addition to cross-platform environments, the idea of moving your directory to the cloud seems much more practical than it once did. Having a cloud-based directory enables your organization to ditch all of the burden of on-prem infrastructure, while gaining access to hosted RADIUS and cloud LDAP, cross-platform functionality, online user management, server management, and more. Check out our post on Online Directory Services to learn more.
Online Active Directory
On the same topic of an online directory, is the concept of having an cloud version of Active Directory the next major solution in IT? It’s clear that the most prominent directory in use is Microsoft’s AD solution, but why hasn’t it adapted to meet the needs of the modern IT environment? Microsoft made a step towards the cloud with Azure AD, but it still requires an on-prem instance of Active Directory. In fact, according to a Microsoft employee it was never even intended to be the cloud replacement to AD. With more and more cloud applications, wireless networks, and remote employees, there is definitely a need for a more versatile cloud directory. To help address this issue, we created a blog post that goes into some of the limitations of the typical Active Directory solution, as well as some alternatives to AD that can handle the modern enterprise more smoothly. Check out our post Online Active Directory to read about it.
Online SSH Key Management
One of the most important aspects of the enterprise to keep secured is your SSH keys. These keys are essentially your keys to the kingdom, as having a breach here can compromise your entire organization. The process to maintain security of these SSH keys typically requires manual management, but what if there was a way to use a service to manage and deploy these keys for you automatically? Fortunately there is, and it’s available through a SaaS-based platform. Employing cloud-based SSH key management enables you to have secure access to servers, applications and anything else that you use keys for, all without the hassle of maintaining it yourself. Read our post Online SSH Key Management to learn more about the topic.
Are You Moving Online?
If your organization is moving their infrastructure online, it might be a good time to start looking into a directory that can support it. Don’t get stuck with dealing with constant workarounds, manual management, and siloed identities. Check out our Directory-as-a-Service® platform, and see for yourself how we are enabling IT to regain control over the enterprise. If you’d like to give it a shot, sign up for a free account. Your first 10 users are free forever, so there’s no reason not to. Alternatively, if you have any questions about cloud-based infrastructure and how JumpCloud can help, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer any questions and discuss what the right option for you is.