Directory-as-a-Service is an emerging user, network and system management service that reduces the necessary costs and time by leveraging cloud computing. A cloud-based directory like Azure Active Directory can enhance security, simplify access and push smart policies with centralized managed solutions.
What is Directory-as-a-Service?
Directory services like Microsoft Active Directory provide centralized domain management that provides an umbrella of directory and domain services for user credentials, rights, certificates and organizational hierarchies. Active Directory data has typically been hosted on a physical server either on-premise or at a remote data center. With widespread implementation of SaaS & private cloud, and hybrid cloud services, directories can now benefit from being cloud-based. What are the advantages of a cloud-based directory services?
Taking Advantage of Cloud Directory Services
Until recently, Microsoft has dominated the enterprise network landscape. Microsoft Azure Active Directory is still the market leader when it comes to Microsoft-based integrations, security, compliance and development. Here are all the current SaaS integrations for Azure Active Directory:
While Microsoft continues to expand on their SaaS pre-integrations, there are still limitations that force businesses to manage multiple IDs and resources – for example: Gmail over Exchange, AWS directory services and the greater demand for enterprise compatibility with Mac and Linux. Cloud-based directory services like JumpCloud have recently positioned themselves as service providers that can orchestrate group policy (GPOs) across all these managed devices while simultaneously providing resource management beyond Active Directory capabilities. Here’s how JumpCloud centralized and simplified identity management:
“Give yourusers one set of credentials to securely access their systems, apps, networks,and file servers – regardless of platform, protocol, provider, or location.”- JumpCloud
If successfully implemented, the cost and time savings can be a major step forward for CIOs and system administrators because it enables IT to manage all resources in one central directory with one central ID. Other competitors like OneLogin provide single sign-on services (SSO) to piggy back on on-prem foundations like Azure Active Directory.
How does Azure Active Directory work with Directory-as-a-Service?
For JumpCloud, Active Directory remains the primary authoritative directory, extending credentials using a bridge that centrally controls all other services like Gmail, Dropbox, AWS, Mac devices, Linux Devices and any other resources your business uses. A few linger questions remain for this directory-as-a-service start-up revolve around security and compliance. Many businesses will be hesitant to shift their directory to the cloud. JumpCloud CEO Rajat Bhargava states that they have several layers of security and encryption built in to their service with an API and connect key. As for compliance – they are working on the certification process at this time and anticipate managing compliance regulations such as PCI for their clients as part of their service.
Using a Managed Service Provider to Implement Directory-as-a-Service
If you’re interested in learning more about cloud directory services or how to better manage either the azure active directory or AWS directory service, contact us!