Using G Suite as an Active Directory® Provider

By Rajat Bhargava Posted December 21, 2016

G Suite admins share something in common: they want to know whether their Google account can also function as an Active Directory provider. Said another way, can GApps also be a directory service?

The short answer is no. Google Apps doesn’t function as an identity provider. Luckily, though, there is a third-party solution that you can leverage to turn your G Suite identities into credentials across your systems, applications, and networks.

Shifting to The Cloud with G Suite


Before we discuss our cloud identity provider that is integrated with GApps, let’s walk through what IT organizations are trying to do.

Over 5 million organizations have shifted to the cloud with G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work). The intent for most of these organizations is to leverage GApps hosted email and the productivity suite. Many IT organizations look at the option of implementing their own Microsoft Exchange server. They then decide that outsourcing email is much easier and better. Further, many organizations don’t need to pay for Microsoft Office licenses, and they are comfortable with the productivity suite from Google Apps.

Google, of course, has continued to innovate and is delivering additional solutions, including Hangouts. All of these services are helpful for IT organizations and core solutions for their end users.

Replacing Exchange and Active Directory  


Historically, IT admins would leverage Exchange with Microsoft Active Directory. The duo would be hosted on-prem and would largely make up the core infrastructure for an organization. While user management was controlled by AD, email was handled by Exchange.

With Google Apps, Exchange could be replaced, but AD could not. Google decided to let organizations continue to run AD on-prem or figure out an alternative that worked for them.

However, one thing became clear: G Suite would not be a directory service. Unfortunately, this created a wave of problems for IT admins, resulting in the need to have AD, OpenLDAP, Open Directory, or another directory service on-prem.

Straddling Both Worlds

Of course, having an on-prem directory service defeated the purpose of moving to cloud solutions because IT organizations now had one foot in the cloud and one foot on-prem. This resulted in a reduction in efficiency and an increase in workload. Using G Suite as an AD-like solution was a non-starter, but still needed. The good news is that Directory-as-a-Service® solves this problem.

jumpcloud g suite integration

Tightly integrated with G Suite, Directory-as-a-Service is the perfect complement to GApps. It centrally manages user access and provisions, deprovisions, and modifies users in Google Apps and elsewhere. In fact, a user’s credentials can be used on their machine, with AWS servers, for their applications, to jump onto WiFi, and more. In a sense, Directory-as-a-Service becomes the companion directory server to GApps.

Using Google Apps Plus JumpCloud® for True SSO™

If you would like to learn more about using G Suite as an Active Directory provider, drop us a note. We’ll help you sort through how pairing cloud identity management with GApps can give you True Single Sign-On. Also, you can try JumpCloud’s Identity-as-a-Service platform for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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