What is System Management?

Written by Natalie Bluhm on November 21, 2019

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System management is managing control over the systems in an IT environment. These can include Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops, laptops, or servers.

Effective system management means IT knows what is taking place on all of the systems in their environment, and they have the ability to enforce company policies regarding how employees can use their system.

This could be something like enforcing a certain screensaver on all systems or forcing employees to update their operating system without the option to select “Install Later.”

It has really been Microsoft System Management

Managing Devices

Let’s take a look at how system management has evolved over the last two decades.

Around 1986, the personal computer (PC) started to be viewed as a productivity tool (eHow). At the same time, Microsoft released the Windows Operating System, and began its path towards the dominating force it is today. 

As the Microsoft ecosystem grew in popularity, Microsoft created a directory service called Active Directory (AD). AD introduced a feature that allowed IT admins to remotely and securely manage their Windows systems called Group Policy Objects (GPOs).

GPOs made it possible for IT admins to control each of the Windows endpoints in their environment from Active Directory. In the past, IT would have had to physically go to each computer and manually run whatever tasks they needed to. The introduction of GPOs was a pretty big deal.

The trick was GPOs worked like a dream only as long as IT environments stayed within the Microsoft ecosystem. Microsoft wanted to hold onto their monopoly, so they made it challenging to connect AD and its GPO function to anything outside this ecosystem. This worked out well, until the mid 2000’s.

IT admins began to witness more Mac and Linux systems infiltrating their workspace, the cloud changed the way users could use apps, networks, and storage systems, and employees started working remotely.

Since AD doesn’t play well with Mac and Linux systems, IT admins didn’t have the same remote control they have had with Windows systems. Even just one Mac in an environment running AD meant IT admins were in the dark when it came to that part of their infrastructure. So why does this matter?

Why System Management Matters

You want IT admins to have full control over the systems in an organization because it optimizes maintenance, increases security, and streamlines the process of assisting users when their system malfunctions.

Successful system management makes it possible for IT to efficiently make sure each user and their system has the correct apps and configuration settings.

Additionally, system management has a big effect on security and compliance. Even just having one system in the dark leaves an organization vulnerable because that system’s security is now in the hands of the end user – and end users have earned a reputation for favoring convenience over security.

It is also inevitable that systems will face technical issues. A good system management platform will work with IT, and help them solve their user’s issues quickly. If part of your infrastructure is left in the dark, then that means it will take many additional steps to solve any issues that arise.

Try our Cloud Based Directory

cross platform system management

System management is critical, and IT admins need a system management tool that can work with their environment needs. The solution? JumpCloud’s Directory Platform. JumpCloud provides you with widespread visibility in your heterogeneous IT environment.

Our cloud based directory also offers the power to remotely execute commands and scripts across Mac, Linux, and Windows systems with the flexibility of running them on a ad hoc basis, on a schedule, or prompted by a webhook from an external system. System security can be significantly increased with Linux and Mac MFA, password complexity management, and the ability to enforce policies.

If you are interested in learning more about how our cloud identity and access management (CIAM) solution can optimize system management in your environment, we hope to hear from you. Take a look at our pricing page or start testing our CIAM platform by signing up for a free account. Your first ten users are free.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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