After nearly two decades of relative calmness in the directory services realm, we are now seeing some disruption as IT organizations shift towards the cloud. As the winds of change blow and shake loose the hold Microsoft® Active Directory®(AD or MAD) has on the directory services space, admins are beginning to look for a next generation, cloud-based alternative to the traditional, on-prem directory service. With this cloud focus in mind, IT admins are wondering why they should use JumpCloud® over Active Directory.
The History of Directory Services
The history of directory services spans back to the creation of LDAP (the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) in 1993 by our own advisor, Tim Howes, with a few colleagues at the University of Michigan. Its success as a directory service elevated it to become the standard directory protocol for the internet in 1997. This led to the invention of two legacy directory service platforms called OpenLDAP™ in 1998 and Active Directory in 1999.
When it came to choosing a directory service, IT admins were largely restricted to these two options. OpenLDAP was designed primarily for open-source use in the data center, whereas AD really took the lead with how easily it integrated with Windows® machines that dominated the typical office space at the time.
As time went on, the introduction of web applications, like Salesforce®, and a whole slew of non-Windows® resources put a huge strain on the functionality of Active Directory. Patch on fixes like web application single sign-on (SSO) solutions were introduced as a way to connect on-prem identities to the new resources in the nebulous cloud. As more and more of these resources are straying away from an on-prem foundation (and away from Microsoft’s Windows operating system), IT admins are beginning to see the difficulty in leveraging so many add on solutions to fill the gaps in MAD.
New Directory Service Needed
While this patchwork solution is functional, improvements could certainly be made. With change comes great responsibility, and the directory services space is ready for some disruption. Now, when considering altering your directory service platform, there is a lot to keep in mind. Of course, it’s vital to evaluate the internal requirements of your IT organization to ensure the new directory service platform meets all of its needs.
These needs should play a central role in weighing the pros and cons of various directory service alternatives. The first thing that should be taken into account is if your organization is looking to move towards the cloud entirely. Second, the platform support within the company should be considered. Are the resources solely Windows-based, or is the organization leveraging a wide range of platforms and providers including macOS®, Linux®, G Suite™, and more? The third major point is whether the organization has the resources available to them to operate their own infrastructure or if third-party help is needed.
JumpCloud Over Active Directory
When it comes to directory services, IT admins are looking at the next generation cloud directory service called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS) as a replacement for Active Directory. The JumpCloud platform covers a vast majority of the use cases of traditional MAD implementations, but also includes native support for cloud apps, cloud infrastructure, and Mac/Linux systems. Being a full-fledged directory service with an array of features such as SSO, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and event logging, all hosted in the cloud, DaaS is the ideal solution that meets the needs of a modern office.If you’re ready to learn more about why use JumpCloud over Active Directory, drop us a line. You’re welcome to sign up for a free account that allows you to manage your first 10 users for free. You can also check out our YouTube channel for tutorials and educational IT videos, or schedule a demo to see the product in action.