By Greg Keller Posted August 9, 2016
As IT professionals, our job is to facilitate the productivity of our users. Those users could be employees, contractors, vendors, or others, but the goal is the same – help these folks accomplish their jobs.
In large part, IT wants to keep itself largely invisible and only show up in the positive column as a supporter to big initiatives. Unfortunately, as we all know, IT is often much maligned without regard for those very significant leverage points that it creates.
The irony for the IT organization is that the complaints are largely over mundane items.
It is actually amazing that IT can run a large infrastructure with high reliability, but simple things like connecting users to the IT resources they need frustrate the team. Users can’t login to what they need because accounts haven’t been created, passwords are forgotten, or accounts are locked – these issues all cause frustration and friction for end users.
That frustration is borne out of the feeling that the user is being impeded by IT. Their goal is to just get their job done and they don’t view the IT infrastructure as a path to doing that, even though it is. They often don’t even think about all of the remarkable steps it takes to make their jobs happen, but just see the problems.
Passwords and More Passwords
One of the most significant frustrations with end users is the number of passwords that they need to manage. With the explosion of platforms available to employees, the number of passwords has exploded as well.
End users are managing dozens of unique accounts. Usernames are often different – one asks for an email address, another without it, and then some are short usernames while others can be long.
Passwords ideally are different on each platform, but, of course, that’s complex to manage. How do you solve this problem? What are the best practices for password security and management?
Partial Solution: Password Manager
Password managers are a potential solution. LastPass is great example of a time-saving tool for users and admins alike, that securely stores a user’s passwords. but in and of themselves don’t actually fully solve the problem.
Why? It’s because the scope of a password manager is limited. Password managers manage passwords – not devices, users, and other resources and infrastructure. So IT still has a number of underlying accounts that need to be managed separately. This becomes a significant headache.
In fact, the problem for IT is worse than the end user. IT needs to provision, deprovision, and modify all of these accounts on all of these different platforms.
Complete Solution: Cloud Directory
What’s a unified cloud directory?
It’s a centralized identity management solution that helps to consolidate the number of different accounts. We like to think of it as taking a large number of ‘mini-directories’ on each platform and creating “one directory to rule them all” – a central account that is leveraged across many different types of services.
To truly be a unified cloud directory, it must be able to:
- Manage all major operating systems, including Windows®, macOS®, and Linux®
- Use a wide variety of protocols, including SAML, LDAP, RADIUS, SSH, and more
- Integrate with popular apps like AWS®, Microsoft Office 365™, and G Suite™
- Provision and manage access to all additional IT infrastructure, including WiFi
And it must be able to do all this from one centralized administrator dashboard.
End User Friction and Frustration
When an enterprise is able to implement a unified cloud directory, they enjoy increased efficiency and security, along with the benefits of True Single Sign-On™ and more leveraged control to IT over user management.
If you would like to learn more about how JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® can help you centralize user management over your IT resources including systems, applications, and networks, drop us a note. You’ll learn how you can collapse the number of passwords while enabling your users through services such as a virtual LDAP, RADIUS-as-a-Service, SAML SSO, machine authentication, cloud server user management, and more.
Or start right now and give JumpCloud a try for free. Your first 10 users are free forever.