MSP Perspective: JumpCloud or Azure Active Directory

How to Choose the Right IAM Solution for MSPs

MSPs are looking for a wide range of IT management tools. And, in an evolving IT landscape, it is important that their product stack satisfies the variety of client needs for the modern office. A core decision for MSPs is what should be at the foundation of their client’s IT infrastructure. To that end, we’ll discuss from an MSP’s perspective whether JumpCloud or Azure® Active Directory® is a better fit.

Fit is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, and each identity management platform has its benefits that should correlate with the core requirements that an MSP and their clients have. Before diving into whether JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service or Azure AD is a better fit, it is critical to take stock of the needs an MSP and their clients have.

Modern Identity Management

Modern identity management is at the core of any IT infrastructure. IAM tools are tasked with securely managing and connecting users to their IT resources including systems, applications, files, and networks often regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location. In short, a modern directory service is the foundation from which an MSP manages a client and the way their clients Make Work Happen in their organization.

Core requirements an MSP should consider when selecting an identity management platform include:

1. Ability to Manage

What is endpoint management?


MSPs need tools that can centralize management of their clients. Having solutions on-prem, or those that require individual per client management, can add a great deal of overhead. Further, an identity management solution should give deep management capabilities over the systems that their clients have (e.g. Linux®, Mac®, Windows®).



2. Flexibility

MSPs can have a wide range of clients. Some use AWS while others use Azure. Some use Macs while others like Windows machines. MSPs want to enable their clients with the freedom to use what is best for their organization while also making it easy to manage everything.



3. Openness

In the modern era of IT, open systems and protocols are critical. MSPs are tasked with making a wide range of platforms and systems work together. That can only happen if the systems implemented into their product stack are open and can easily integrate with others.




4. Cost



Whether an MSP is passing the costs along to their customer or absorbing the costs within their monthly fee, a cost-effective solution is paramount. MSPs are the eyes, ears, and brains of their clients, so making sound financial decisions is critical in earning the trust of their clients.

While these four requirements are generally universal, you may want to add to this list when considering which cloud identity and access management platform is best for your organization and clients.

Comparing Use Cases

Understanding these key requirements, let’s consider the scenarios where each IAM platform shines. For Microsoft Azure Active Directory, there’s no mystery. Azure AD is excellent for organizations that are extending their on-prem AD identities to Azure solutions—i.e., Azure compute services—and are, generally, all Windows® shops. For those interested in using Azure AD without an on-prem AD, Azure AD looks a lot like a user management platform for Azure services that can also authenticate Windows 10 devices.

As Azure AD is the cloud complement to the on-prem Active Directory platform, the scenario is ideal for clients with significant investments in Microsoft technology without an interest in other popular emerging platforms.  

Example Use Case for Azure AD:

  1. Heavily invested in Microsoft AD and/or Windows servers on-prem
  2. Utilizing Azure compute services
  3. Tied to Microsoft-based technologies (Sharepoint, SQL Server, etc.)
  4. 100% Windows laptops/desktops


If Azure AD can be thought of as being optimized for Azure-based environments, then JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service platform is the cross-platform alternative. JumpCloud’s cloud identity provider is optimized for heterogeneous environments where macOS®, Linux®, AWS, G Suite™, NAS appliances, and any number of other non-Windows solutions are present. And, the good news is that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work well with Windows, O365, or Azure. In fact, MSPs can leverage JumpCloud’s cloud directory in situations where all of these various platforms are utilized and integrate with Azure AD.

Further, JumpCloud’s platform provides GPO-like policies across all three major platform (Windows, Mac, and Linux), ensuring that IT admins can deeply manage and control their client’s systems. Additional cloud-delivered capabilities include hosted LDAP, virtual RADIUS, Samba file server integration, SSH key management, and more. For situations where an MSP’s clients need more than just Microsoft-based solutions, JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service platform is an excellent solution. In fact, many MSPs use JumpCloud as a replacement to Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, and Intune!

Example Use Case for JumpCloud:

  1. Multi-Platform: Mac, Windows, & Linux
  2. G-Suite / Office 365, AWS / GCP
  3. Remote Workers or Multiple Office Locations (no need for VPNs)
  4. Cloud-focused and security conscious
  5. Looking to eliminate on-prem infrastructure (e.g. Windows Servers, Microsoft AD, etc.)


Learn More About JumpCloud’s Partner Program


Visit our Resources Page to continue exploring more helpful content tailored specifically for MSPs. Categories include understanding JumpCloud, comparing JumpCloud with other products, testing JumpCloud, the go-to-market playbook, and implementing JumpCloud at client sites.

JumpCloud’s Partner Program empowers MSPs with central identity management from the cloud. Fine-tuned for MSPs with cloud security offerings and/or clients moving to the cloud, Directory-as-a-Service can be easily bundled at the center of any product stack to make customers more secure, efficient, and scalable. Make Work Happen™ for your clients while improving the bottom line for your business.