Universal Directory Replacement

Written by Kayla Coco-Stotts on January 26, 2020

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IT admins are wondering if there’s a viable Universal Directory (UD) replacement. Before thinking about a replacement, IT organizations should assess how they are using UD, or how they are intending it to be used, and whether it’s meeting a variety of critical needs. 

The Challenge with Universal Directory

The challenge around UD often derives from what admins seek to get out of it. Are they looking at a unified directory for managing user attributes, or a core directory service for its authentication and authorization services? Does the IT department want something similar to what Microsoft® Active Directory® has done for decades, but from the cloud, or perhaps just a repository for user attributes very similar to what AWS® Cloud Directory has been pioneering as a hierarchical data store?

Chances are, admins who have adopted UD are searching for the latter in both cases. But keep in mind that UD may also require a directory service to authenticate users to their IT resources. For most, this can lead to a greater reliance on Active Directory. 

Cloud-Based Directory Solutions

When you think of directory services, various characteristics come to mind. Now that modern IT solutions are shifting to the cloud, the list of requirements you should use to determine whether a directory service is the correct fit has lengthened considerably.

Modern directory services should be delivered from the cloud, for all types of users and IT resources. This includes:

  • Disparate systems (like macOS®, Linux®, and Windows®)
  • Networks (through both wired and wireless networks)
  • Applications (like Salesforce®, Office 365™, and G Suite™) 

Additionally, a domainless directory service should be secure (through multi-factor authentication, SSH keys, one-way hashed and salted passwords, and encryption at rest and in flight), manage user attributes, and act as the source of authentication and authorization for users and their resources. 

When considering a directory service, it’s important to evaluate fully the requirements needed to ensure you are getting the right type of directory service. With a lot of overlap in the identity and access management space, it’s easy to get confused when matching solutions to your needs. Deeply understanding them will help guide you to the right cloud directory.

Interested in learning more about the first entirely cloud-based directory service? Check out our YouTube channel to learn more about Directory-as-a-Service®, or feel free to reach out for a personalized demo.

Kayla Coco-Stotts

Kayla is a content writer at JumpCloud with a B.A. in Print Journalism from the University of Kentucky. She hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and loves to eat good food and hike Boulder's beautiful trails when she is not writing.

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