Want a New Active Directory®? There’s a better solution.

Written by Rajat Bhargava on January 29, 2015

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Replace Active Directory (AD). Is that a blasphemous statement in the IT world or music to your ears?

Microsoft® and their tools have been controversial for decades now. Whichever side of the fence you are on though, there’s no denying that Microsoft’s Active Directory® solution is at a serious crossroads while the IT market changes dramatically. Even Microsoft has recognized this by having an adjunct Azure-based Active Directory service. However, it isn’t a full replacement to AD as a cloud-based directory service (Spiceworks). 

The challenge with AD is not that it is inherently a bad piece of software.

Microsoft Active Directory Challenges

It’s more that the dynamics of the IT landscape have changed. There has been a dramatic shift to cloud-based infrastructure. IT applications and an organization’s server infrastructure are increasingly based in the cloud.

As a result, many are left with more questions than answers. First of all, how does AD manage that remote infrastructure? Do you poke holes in your network security model? Furthermore, how do you manage non-Windows devices in the cloud?

The second major trend is toward heterogeneous compute environments. AD was introduced in a world that was predominantly Windows within an organization. That is no longer true with Macs and Linux devices, as well as tablets and phones, infiltrating organizations of all sizes. Active Directory was largely paired with Microsoft Exchange. The duo was the core of an organization’s back office infrastructure. As Google Apps (now known as G Suite) penetrates more organizations—they are already greater than 2 million business customers—it creates less incentive to keep Active Directory in place.

All of these trends are significant issues to IT admins.

IT admins struggle with how to leverage new cloud-based systems with legacy software and infrastructure. A key part of that struggle is figuring out how to connect and manage their employees, their devices, IT applications, and WiFi networks. AD doesn’t connect everything—at least not easily!

As a result, IT’s mantra has changed. Instead of being a service organization, they have become a catalyst for driving revenue.

Putting new technologies in the hands of the business is driving an increased pace of innovation. IT is at the center of this movement.

A significant number of organizations are opting out of the AD path.

Displaying Active Directory Challenges

Instead they’re turning to cloud-based directory services solutions. This is because an identity provider is still incredibly critical to these organizations—providing a central, secure authoritative list of employees and their access rights—but the traditional methods don’t quite fit.

Many have turned to JumpCloud®.

Directory-as-a-Service® solution re-imagines a directory in the cloud era.

  • JumpCloud connects to your cloud-based infrastructure, for example, AWS, Rackspace, or SoftLayer, as well as other infrastructure-based (IaaS) services.
  • You get full device support, meaning you can authenticate, authorize, and manage Macs and Linux devices in addition to Windows.
  • You get the same control that AD gives admins over their Windows machines with Macs and Linux boxes. Macs and Linux devices aren’t second-class citizens.
  • JumpCloud works seamlessly with GApps (G Suite) and Office 365. In fact, you get to move completely to the cloud with your directory infrastructure. You won’t have one foot in the on-prem software camp and one in the cloud with an AD / Gmail combination.
  • You can leverage multi-factor authentication for access to Mac and Linux systems, and then for access to the JumpCloud consoles.
  • Authentication via LDAP or RADIUS is a snap. No need to host yet another server to help bridge from IT resources to LDAP and RADIUS servers.

Better Solution to a New Active Directory

We are all cloud and focused on delivering on what a directory service should be. If you are struggling with AD or considering alternatives to AD, give us a call so we can try to help. You can also try out our alternative to a new active directory, it’s free forever for your first 10 users.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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