By Vince Lujan Posted April 5, 2018
Outsourced endpoint management solutions have drawn a lot of attention in recent years. The challenge for IT admins is to find one that is akin to Microsoft® Active Directory® in the cloud, but that also natively supports cross-platform system environments and non-Windows IT resources. At least, that was the challenge before the JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® platform came to market. We’ll discuss how the JumpCloud platform is disrupting the status quo in endpoint management, but we should offer some context before we dive in.
Intro to Endpoint Management
Endpoint management refers to the ability to administer enterprise systems and users. In the old days, circa 1999, this meant the ability to manage Windows® based systems with on-prem identity management platforms like Microsoft Active Directory or SCCM (formerly SMS).
Microsoft tools such as these enabled IT admins to manage fleets of Windows-based systems from one central management platform. This was primarily achieved by deploying prescribed commands, scripts, and policy templates called Group Policy Objects (GPOs).
GPOs were used to configure screen lock timeout, control USB port functionality, manage guest access, and define a wide variety of Windows system behaviors. The key advantage was they could be applied to groups of domain bound systems running Windows at once. As a result, AD and SCCM were basically the only identity management tools IT admins needed, given that IT networks effectively revolved around the Windows operating system at the turn of the century. For better or worse, it wasn’t meant to last.
Modern Endpoint Management
IT networks started to change in the mid-2000s as Mac® and Linux® systems were introduced into the enterprise, along with cloud apps and infrastructure. Mac user endpoints have only increased in popularity since then. Linux endpoints have gained ground too, which have become the preferred option in the data center. While this heterogeneous approach offered a variety of benefits for IT organizations, the trouble was (and still is) that endpoint management became a nightmare for IT admins.
There were essentially two undesirable options for IT admins. The first option was to layer add-on solutions (i.e., Identity-as-a-Service) on top of their on-prem identity management infrastructure. While this approach did enable IT admins to extend AD credentials to non-Windows systems and web applications, the issue was that IDaaS solutions added significant cost and decentralized the identity management puzzle. The other option was to manage non-Windows systems independently – either manually or with siloed management tools – but this approach quickly broke down as the organization scaled and it also had the effect of decentralizing identity management.
Obviously, neither approach is ideal – especially when you factor in that modern IT organizations want to eliminate their on-prem identity management infrastructure altogether. The good news is that a next generation outsourced endpoint management solution has emerged that can provide cross-platform system management capabilities and more from the cloud. It’s called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service.
Outsourced Endpoint Management with JumpCloud
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is like a ray of sunshine in a cloudy world that has brought to light how endpoint management should be in the modern enterprise. No more siloed management tools. No more Active Directory on-prem. No more on-prem identity management infrastructure at all, for that matter. Instead, IT admins can leverage one cloud-based solution to effectively manage disparate fleets of endpoints from one central management platform. JumpCloud even offers cross-platform GPO-like capabilities, called Policies.
The end result provides a degree of centralized control that is similar to how Active Directory worked back when everything was Windows-based and on-prem. The key differences are, of course, that the JumpCloud platform is designed for heterogeneous IT environments and it is also completely cloud-based. In fact, that’s why we like to think of JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service as Active Directory and LDAP reimagined for modern networks.
The best part is that outsourced endpoint management is but one use case of the overall JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform. Contact the JumpCloud team or schedule a demo to discover additional use cases. You can also sign up for a free account and enjoy the benefits of outsourced endpoint management and more, today. Your first ten users are free forever!