Alternatives to Azure AD & AWS Directory

Written by Greg Keller on April 12, 2016

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Cloud-based directory services give IT admins the tool they need to manage users in today’s modern technology era, regardless of location or device. Two of the biggest Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure Directory (AD) offer such services; but despite their advancements, both fall short on providing a robust directory service that enables the management of users across multiple platforms and networks.

As a result, neither Azure AD nor Amazon Web Services offer the solution most companies need to broaden their directory services solution. Organizations in today’s cloud-forward environment need a directory service solution that centralizes identifies and connects users to any device, application, and network regardless of location or provider. Multi-protocol support is essential, as companies leverage a bevy of web applications that require IT admins to control user permissions from one central point, to not only ensure password strength but also manage user permissions.  

Shortcomings of Using Azure AD & AWS as Directory Services

Azure AD and AWS suffer from the same shortcoming: They don’t support multiple devices, applications, and networks independent of their own environment. With Azure AD, for instance, IT admins will need to search for other ways to connection their LDAP-based, on-premise applications with a central user store. Alternatively, Amazon Web Services has made strides in helping their customers manage their Window services and Workspaces desktops, but AWS isn’t a Directory-as-Services (DaaS) solution; rather, AWS can best be described as lightweight AD for AWS services.

Alternative Directory Services to Azure AD & AWS

So, what are the alternative options for directory services? The good news is that there are other solutions besides Azure AD and AWS. Organizations may think those are the only two directory services to choose from, but there are multi-protocol, cloud-based solutions out there.  

In a heterogeneous environment, in which the company leverages Macs, Linux, Google Apps, web applications and other components, the best solution is a cloud-based Directory-as-a-Service solution that is vendor agnostic and provides cross-platform MDM. DaaS enables IT admins to maintain full control over user management and authentication policies.

To explain, Directory-as-Service is a cloud-based solution built for IT teams who need to authenticate, authorize, and manage user access to IT resources across any device types, on any operating system, and with any application that’s in the cloud or on-premise. In other words. DaaS is a robust directory service that can be utilized on whatever IT systems and providers are chosen by the organization.

Multi-Protocol Directory-as-a-Service Solution for Full Control

There are no walls nor limits to the providers a company can use with Directory-as-a-Service, which is great news for IT teams who leverage a multitude of solutions yet still want to centralize the management of user access. Directory-as-Service can manage Windows, Macs, and Linux-based devices, regardless of their location, as well as authenticate a variety of protocols such as LDAP, SAML, RADIUS, and others.

If you’re currently weighing your options for a directory service, now is the time to consider DaaS as the best multi-protocol and vendor agnostic solution, since your IT team can use Directory-as-a-Service to connect users to the resources and tools they need to access, securely and efficiently. Have questions about how DaaS can work for you? Drop us a note, or try Directory-as-a-Service for free (no credit card required).

Greg Keller

JumpCloud CTO, Greg Keller is a career product visionary and executive management leader. With over two decades of product management, product marketing, and operations experience ranging from startups to global organizations, Greg excels in successful go-to-market execution.

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