By Vince Lujan Posted July 12, 2018
Unified access management (UAM) is a new term that has recently been discussed by a number of analysts and firms. However, the term has been causing some confusion because it is generally used to describe a “new” approach to managing access to applications, rather than unifying access management for all IT resources as the name might imply. Fortunately, there is a comprehensive cloud directory that offers the concept of unified access management for virtually any IT resource, rather than just applications. In this blog post, specifically, we will discuss this cloud directory’s concept of unified access management for macOS®, but let’s start with the basics.
Unified Access Management Explained
As previously mentioned, unified access management is a term that is being used by analysts and vendors to describe a new approach to application access management. This new approach is primarily being developed by traditional web application single sign-on (SSO) providers, and what’s “new” is that some web app SSO platforms now offer support for on-prem applications as well. They are calling this approach unified, primarily because it once required separate solutions to manage access to web applications via SAML and on-prem applications via LDAP. Now, it is possible for IT to leverage a single SSO solution to connect to both, but unless the concept includes all of the other IT resources that modern users need, then we aren’t quite sure of how they can call the system “unified”.
What Does Unified Mean to You?
While the current thought surrounding this new concept is rather narrow, at least as far as we are concerned, there is no reason that IT admins can’t widen that approach. In fact, the concept of a single identity that connects to virtually any IT resource is a core element of legacy identity management solutions such as Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). Of course, it didn’t hurt that virtually all IT resources were based on Microsoft Windows>® when AD introduced their version of unified access management, but they weren’t alone. OpenLDAP™ was designed as a UAM solution for LDAP-based IT resources, for example, and Open Directory (OD) was a UAM solution for macOS. There are plenty of other examples, some of which have been around since the 1990s. So, as you can see, this concept is nothing new.
Unified Access Management for macOS and More
If you’re paying attention, then you may be wondering, “Why not leverage Open Directory to provide unified access management for macOS?” Today, the challenge has become that IT organizations are leveraging a wide range of platforms, protocols, providers, and locations for their IT resources simultaneously. This can include macOS and Windows-based systems, Linux® desktops and AWS® cloud servers, G Suite™ and Office 365™ productivity platforms, Samba file servers and NAS appliances, and so much more. Ideally, IT organizations would be able to implement a truly centralized identity and access management system that could securely manage and connect users to all of this and more. Unfortunately, Open Directory is not generally suited for this type of environment and not to mention it is unclear what macOS Server’s future is and by extension Open Directory.
The good news is that a new generation of identity management has emerged that can centralize identity and access management (IAM) for virtually any IT resource. It’s called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it not only offers unified access management for macOS, but it also expands the concept to span the breadth of your IT infrastructure. Specifically, as it relates to macOS, JumpCloud admins can securely manage macOS user identities, and connect them to their Mac laptops, desktops, and servers. JumpCloud admins can also manage macOS system policies in Groups, with a Policies feature that is akin to Active Directory GPOs (Group Policy Objects). JumpCloud admins can even extend this concept of unified access management to Windows, Linux, and everything else users need via one comprehensive cloud-based service.
Learn More About JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service
Unified access management for macOS is a core use case of the JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform. Sign up for a free account or schedule a demo to explore all of the use cases of the JumpCloud platform. We offer 10 free users to help you explore all of our cloud-based IAM capabilities at no cost. You can also contact the JumpCloud team if you have any questions, or check out the following video to learn more about user management for macOS.