Office 365™ Active Directory® Integration

Written by Zach DeMeyer on August 5, 2019

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When it comes to groundbreaking IT solutions, Microsoft® tops the list in many categories. For instance, their on-prem directory service, Active Directory® is still one of the most widely used identity and access management (IAM) tools around in spite of the fact it was created about 20 years ago. Similarly, Office 365™ is a go-to in many organizations as well, delivering the functionality of their original Office® suite (and more) from the cloud. As such, many IT admins are curious how to best go about an Office 365 Active Directory integration.

Microsoft’s Solution

Since both Active Directory (AD) and Office 365 (O365) are both Microsoft software, one might think the best option is to use a solution from Microsoft. In this case, that solution comes from the Azure® cloud infrastructure suite, namely in the form of Azure Active Directory®.

Azure Active Directory (AAD) is a cloud IAM platform designed specifically for managing Azure users and their relation/access to other Microsoft solutions, including the Office 365 suite, as well as a limited web application single sign-on (SSO) tool. While many believed that AAD would be the cloud replacement for on-prem AD, it’s apparent that is not Microsoft’s plan. Their plan is to use AAD as the link between AD and Microsoft’s cloud solutions, especially Azure and Office 365. This is demonstrated by the fact that IT admins will still require a traditional AD setup to manage on-prem systems and legacy applications, with Microsoft’s proprietary directory extension (i.e., Azure AD Connect) to bridge AD identities to the Azure cloud.

Hiccups in the Plan

So, for organizations looking for Office 365 Active Directory integration, Azure Active Directory Connect could certainly be the solution to use. Unfortunately, AAD is limited as far as a full IAM approach is concerned. For one, in order to do anything significant, organizations will need to purchase more than just AAD and the on-prem AD, but AAD Connect and AAD Domain Services (DS), too.

Beyond that, AD + the AAD suite of services is not optimized for use with non-Windows resources, such as Mac® and Linux® systems, and many of the various other resources employed by today’s IT organizations. That means that more solutions, such as identity bridges and SSO among others, will be needed to complete the picture for organizations. Of course, that means more cost and more work for IT admins.

Another Solution

Thankfully, there is another option for Office 365 Active Directory integration that doesn’t require an extensive list of add-on solutions. This solution is a cloud directory service, a reimagination of AD for the modern era. The cloud directory service, called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, allows IT admins to manage users and connect them to virtually all of their IT resources.

A core feature of JumpCloud is AD Integration, which connects JumpCloud to a preexisting AD instance; it consists of two parts. The first part, AD Import, collects user data from AD and propagates it into JumpCloud and its connected resources. The other, Active Directory password sync, takes passwords from JumpCloud and integrates them into AD. It’s a bidirectional sync.

One such resource that can be connected to AD via AD Integration is Office 365. JumpCloud features a complete integration with O365, meaning solutions like AD itself aren’t even necessary to manage O365. JumpCloud provides comprehensive IAM for O365 and hundreds of other applications, as well as systems (Mac, Windows, Linux), networks via RADIUS (learn more about Office 365 and RADIUS), file servers, infrastructure, and more.

Try JumpCloud AD Integration

If you need Office 365 Active Directory integration, would like to replace AD, or need a new directory service altogether, JumpCloud is the solution for you. You can try JumpCloud absolutely free just by signing up for a JumpCloud account, which comes with ten users for free, available forever. If you would like to learn more, please contact us. You can also schedule a demo of the product before you try.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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