Why The Directory Needs to be Re-imagined

Written by Rajat Bhargava on September 23, 2014

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A modern solution to the issues around directory service management is desperately needed. As most IT admins know, it’s hard to patch an identity management solution together to accommodate the changing IT landscape. Specifically, the move to cloud services is driving new requirements. Cloud servers hosted at AWS® or Digital Ocean, for example, are currently “out-of-purview” for most on-premise hosted directory services solutions. End-user cloud apps such as Salesforce and Dropbox are being managed by single sign-on vendors which require integration back to the core identity provider.

Among those trends, the ascendance of Macs® as a core IT compute device is also causing tremendous problems and pain. For many, if not most, organizations, Macs are not managed devices. That means that IT has little control over access and even less over the device’s security posture. As more device types appear, including phones and tablets, the IT organization is blind to them. While these devices will invariably have core digital assets, they will not be managed. That’s a recipe for disaster, and it’s an issue that needs to be solved quickly.

The move to Google’s enterprise email and productivity services, G Suite™, is bifurcating the once-dominant Active Directory®/Exchange tandem. It’s the same case with Microsoft’s own Office 365™ platform. The challenge is that as organizations move email to G Suite or O365, they are still stuck with an on-premise directory service – an anchor preventing their full move to cloud services. Further, Google’s user store is not meant to be a complete directory with full authentication, authorization, and management services. It was largely meant as a contacts list and control point for Google services.

One Identity To Rule Them All™

These challenges are driving the innovation of Directory-as-a-Service®. With decades of history and little innovation, solutions such as AD and LDAP have set the foundation for what will be needed in the cloud era. The next generation directory service will stand on the shoulders of these giants. However, unlike its predecessors, this fully managed directory will carve a new path for smart, modern organizations. Learn more about how you, too, can centrally manage employees with JumpCloud®.

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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