Using Google Apps Directory as Your One Single Identity

Written by Rajat Bhargava on September 4, 2015

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Most IT admins wish that their users’ Google Apps credentials could be used across the organization. By doing so, there would be one single, strong password for users to remember. IT admins could also couple that one password with multi-factor authentication to make the password even strongerand their IT systems more secure. It’s similar in concept to what Microsoft did with Active Directory and networks in the early 2000s. The difference, of course, was that most networks were homogenous with Windows everywhere and they were behind the corporate firewall.

However, today’s networks are heterogeneous, complex, and located all around the world. It presents an important problem for IT admins to solve. Employees today use multiple devices, sometimes none of which run Windows. The applications that employees, contractors and consultants  use nowadays are located both internally and externally of a company’s systems. What’s more, the systems that people access and build on can be located virtually anywhere in the world but look as if they’re right next door.

Solving for the Distributed Network

The challenge for today’s IT admin is to take that distributed network and make it look to users like one seamless company network. Regardless of where employees go, you want them to know they are within the corporate network. Employees can use their core username and password for whatever they need to access. If they are a part of certain groups and that participation grants them specific rights, those rights extend to employees, independent of location..

Understanding The Limitations of Google Apps

Ideally for many organizations the single, core identity employees use would be their Google Apps user accounts. Google Apps has the potential to play a central role for many organizations. Unfortunately as IT admins know, Google Apps Directory isn’t an identity store, so it does not capture a user’s identity in a way that would be beneficial for IT admins looking to use Google Apps as identity storage. Rather, Google Apps Directory functions more like a contact database. It doesn’t give you the ability to authenticate devices, systems, most applications, and networks.

Using Google Apps as Identity Storage

That’s why we’ve built JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service to integrate tightly with Google Apps. Now users can have one identity stored within Google Apps that can be driven from JumpCloud’s core cloud-based directory. Simply put: It’s one identity for each user  to remember that is connected to Google Apps, their devices, applications, and networks. By using Google Apps Directory this way, IT admins can make modern networks looks just like they did over a decade ago when they were homogenous.

If you’re  interested in leveraging your Google Apps identities for the rest of your IT resources, contact us today. You’re just one step away from solving the distributed network.

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