Sync Active Directory® with G Suite™

Written by George Lattimore on August 9, 2019

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Is it possible to seamlessly sync Active Directory® with G Suite™? Playing together nicely has never been a strong suit of either Microsoft® nor Google®. So, regarding two of the tech juggernauts’ top products, is there a way IT admins can bridge the gap between Active Directory (AD) and G Suite? Let’s find out.

Why AD and G Suite?

Out of all of the various resources being leveraged by today’s IT organizations, why sync AD with G Suite? Well, many of today’s IT orgs use G Suite in much of their day-to-day work. The extensive productivity suite is highly regarded for its easy-to-use collaboration among other features.

Active Directory is also widely used among IT organizations, but with more wide-reaching influence. AD is the identity provider/source of truth for identity management, a key function of IT. As an on-prem directory service, AD has long been a staple of IT admins worldwide. So, given their critical positions in most IT organizations, leveraging both AD and G Suite in cooperation is certainly appealing.

Additionally, given its position as identity provider, AD is used as a database of user identities, which are then doled out by AD to provide access to various IT resources: systems, networks, file servers, applications, and more. From an administration perspective, some IT organizations also use G Suite in a similar fashion, albeit mainly for Google Cloud services and a few select web applications. Although G Suite’s identity management capabilities aren’t nearly as powerful as AD’s, IT organizations need to be able to coordinate G Suite access for their teams. Ideally, being able to combine and coordinate these two disparate identity bases inside of an organization is a driving reason for syncing AD and G Suite.

Syncing AD and G Suite

For organizations looking to sync their AD and G Suite instances, there are a couple of options. The first is the Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS) tool, formerly called Google Active Directory Sync (GADS). GCDS acts a one-way communication path between AD and G Suite; it makes changes to G Suite as they are made in AD.

Problems with GCDS

Unfortunately, while this solution is useful for propagating AD identity changes into G Suite, it has several drawbacks. For one, GCDS overlooks many other resources that need to be involved with identity management. Some examples include non-Windows systems (Macs®, Linux®), as well as non-Google cloud infrastructure, and applications. IT organizations would need several other solutions to be able to federate their AD identities to these resources.

Additionally, since GCDS is used alongside the on-prem directory service, AD, it needs a dedicated server among other hardware components to function. The required physical hardware needs to be implemented and maintained, meaning an uptick in overhead for IT admins. Further, the integration work necessary creates more moving parts, meaning a potential failure point in an IT infrastructure.

AD/G Suite Sync from the Cloud

Thankfully, there is a solution that not only syncs Active Directory with G Suite, but can do so with virtually all other IT resources as well. This solution is a cloud directory service and identity provider, capable of managing systems, networks, applications, infrastructure, and more, regardless of provider, platform, location, and protocol.

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® features a full G Suite integration that IT admins can use to seamlessly sync their G Suite identities with their JumpCloud identities. They can then use the JumpCloud AD Integration feature to bind their AD instance to JumpCloud. With both directories synced to JumpCloud, IT admins can manage all of their identities from a single cloud admin portal.

Try JumpCloud Today

Syncing Active Directory with G Suite has never been easier, thanks to JumpCloud and the AD Integration feature. If you would like to learn more, please contact us. We’d be happy to share with you.

You can also schedule a demo to see the product’s functionality in action, or you can jump right in by signing up for a JumpCloud account. Your first ten users in the platform are free forever to get you started.

George Lattimore

George is a writer at JumpCloud, a central source for authenticating, authorizing, and managing your IT infrastructure through the cloud. With a degree in Marketing and an MS in Public Communications and Technology, George enjoys writing about how the IT landscape is adapting to a diversified field of technology.

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