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Keeping Tabs on Remote Systems



IT admins need maximum visibility into their system fleets, even if their end users are working remotely. Thankfully, keeping tabs on remote systems with a cloud directory service gives IT admins the system performance and configuration information they need from the same locations they use to manage those systems.

Why Keep Tabs on Systems?

By monitoring a system’s health and configuration settings, IT admins can ensure that their end users are working efficiently, securely, and up to compliance.

Efficiency

When a system is running slow or otherwise underperforming, employee output takes a major hit. At-capacity hard drives, deteriorated batteries, and old operating system versions can all detract from a system’s capabilities and slow down its user. 

If an IT admin isn’t made aware of the issue until it’s too late, additional work time is eaten up by the resulting maintenance request — disrupting both the IT admin and the system’s user. By having real-time data on a system and its wellbeing, IT admins can stay ahead of problems before they arise. 

System monitoring also supports the introduction of new devices into a fleet. Tracking crashes and uptime can help admins make informed decisions about their latest equipment choices, and ultimately foster employee ease-of-use in the future.

Security

Outdated operating systems and applications can present attack vectors to your systems and network through existing bugs. Malicious browser extensions present similar threats. When an IT admin has up-to-date visibility into the status of these potential points of entry, they can force updates to the at-risk system.

Through system monitoring, IT organizations also identify full disk encryption (FDE) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) status. FDE ensures that their system’s hard drives are protected while the system is powered off. That way, if the device is stolen, its stored data is protected from compromise. MFA adds another factor to login processes and bolsters system and application credentials, even if they’ve been phished. [Note: if you would like to avoid phishing attacks, check out JumpCloud’s anti-phishing password change process.]

Compliance

Compliance regulations such as PCI DSS and NIST require the demonstration of system monitoring capabilities, backed by the ability to enforce changes when vulnerabilities are detected. Investing in a system monitoring solution helps IT departments show they are able to protect their fleets and optimize performance while also keeping pace with industry standards.

Monitoring Remote Systems

Remote workers make system monitoring difficult. Some system monitoring tools require that the system is jacked into the LAN, so having workers outside the office renders those options ineffectual.

When it comes to actually managing system settings in response to detected issues, remote work presents one of two issues. If an organization has no dedicated system management tool, like a next generation directory service with those capabilities, then IT admins need to handle systems directly. With remote workers, sometimes IT admins can only administer the device if the worker returns on-prem, or the IT admin tends to the worker’s location, a problem is the employee is international or working at home due to sickness or other circumstances.

The other issue arises when an organization that has a directory service, but the directory service solely exists on-prem. A classic example of this is Microsoft® Active Directory®. Remote workers fall outside of the directory service’s domain, and if their systems aren’t Windows®-based, they’re even further outside of IT’s control. 

In order to properly monitor and manage remote systems, regardless of their OS or location, IT admins need to shed the traditional concept of the domain. Extending beyond systems, IT admins should be able to administer their users and their access to IT resources, including systems, applications, networks, and infrastructure.

Put more technically, IT organizations need a versatile directory service that is:

  • Platform-agnostic
  • Protocol-independent
  • Cloud-based
  • Has system monitoring capabilities

What modern IT organizations need is a domainless cloud directory service, or Directory-as-a-Service®.

Cloud Cross-OS System Monitoring and Management

IT admins can use a domainless cloud directory service like JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service to keep tabs on and manage their remote workers’ systems, as well as federate access to other IT resources following the principle of least privilege for tighter security. With JumpCloud, all end user access is centralized under a single set of credentials and backed by MFA.

System Insights

System Insights™ is Directory-as-a-Service’s system monitoring solution, providing at-will visibility into many key system functionalities and configurations through the JumpCloud remote system agent. Because it’s tied in to Directory-as-a-Service, IT admins can identify potential issues before they become full-scale problems and instantly take necessary action to remedy them, pushing changes to systems through the agent as well.

Policies

One method for addressing issues detected by System Insights is by using JumpCloud Policies, which are analogues of Active Directory group policy objects which apply to Windows, Mac®, and Linux® systems. Admins can leverage Policies to control operating system updates, enforce FDE, and set additional security configurations to safeguard end user devices.

Learn More

Keeping tabs on remote systems is only the tip of the iceberg that IT admins have to address when moving to a fully remote workforce. If you’re curious how IT admins have used Directory-as-a-Service to optimize their shift to a work from home model, check out JumpCloud’s own IT department’s story in our webinar.


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