By Rajat Bhargava Posted October 15, 2014
Business solutions are becoming increasingly cloud-based. From email providers, to CRM systems, businesses are focused at refreshing their infrastructure to cloud-based solutions to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
But while the benefits of cloud-services are clear, a few important questions remain. Specifically, business often wonder how and when to leverage cloud-based solutions to keep their competitive edge.
Larger organizations may be nervous that the shift will create a disruption in the current model, and wonder how the cloud-based solution will meld into their current practices. Smaller organizations may be in the process of developing several systems and solutions. So they may not have a clear picture of where to start.
But one thing is clear, if you strategically position and prepare your company for the cloud, you’ll get higher performance and more return on your cloud investments. One of these preparations is getting your IT systems cloud-ready and optimized.
In this post, we go over three ways businesses of any size can integrate Directory-as-a-Service® solutions into their IT strategy.
1—Extend your existing directory to the cloud
If you already have a directory—as most companies do—you may be in the position of wanting to extend your directory to the cloud without completely replacing your old systems. In this case, your company already has a robust directory in place, like Microsoft Active Directory (AD), LDAP, or Google Apps. Completely replacing your directory service could be too costly or disruptive. Yet you still understand the need to control and manage access to cloud servers and other devices.
Directory-as-a-Service is this hybrid solution. With a cloud-based DaaS, companies can leverage a “mirrored” directory that can manage user access to cloud server infrastructure or to a third-party platform service such as AWS RDS. DaaS also helps manage on-premise users and Macs or Linux devices, thereby simplifying device and user management.
In this case, businesses can keep existing directories intact, but make a positive step into the cloud.
2—Migrate to a unified, cloud-based, directory
Others opt to make a full transition to the cloud. If your business is using advanced cloud-based solutions throughout your organization, shifting your directory to the cloud is the obvious solution. Already, companies have moved a great deal of their on-premise ‘services’ (equipment and software applications alike) to the cloud. One of the last remaining services has been the directory. With the introduction of cloud-based directory services, those last remaining on-prem servers can be decommissioned. And the possibility of having a completely cloud-based organization becomes a closer reality.
In this case, a new directory is completely configured, managed, and maintained in the cloud. Businesses benefit from tighter user- and device-management, increased security, while reducing the costs associated with server management.
3—Establish a new directory
The final way to integrate your directory into the cloud is to establish your directory in the cloud from the onset.
Smaller companies, or fast-growing startups, often operate without a directory for some time. However, eventually their growth in staff necessitates the development of a directory into their core IT system. For smaller businesses, settling their directory in the cloud is the most modern solution. And it will likely be the best, longest-term IT solution, for two reasons.
First, a cloud-based directory provides better security and access control. As organizations grow, not everybody needs access to everything. And if they are also subject to any regulatory standards, controlling access quickly becomes a problem.
Also, fast-growth businesses need simple processes for managing varied devices, as often accompanies business with a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. Easily controlling and managing devices has been a critical part of Active Directory. And that requirement shows up as the number of employees and devices increases.
Get Started With Directory-as-a-Service
Regardless of your current position, size of company, or IT needs—a cloud-based directory service is foundational for your security, growth, and user-access control issues. Contact us to get started with an extended directory, a migrated directory, or a brand new identity provider. We’ll work with you to get your directory up to speed without disrupting your core business.