One of the hottest categories in the current IT market is the Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) space. The reason? The transformation of IT from a Microsoft-centric ecosystem to mixed platform and provider (e.g. AWS, GCP, Azure AD) environments are driving a new era of identity management from the cloud. One particularly intriguing aspect is the cloud IAM feature Linux user management.
Linux has become the most popular choice of operating system for servers in data centers around the world. Many developers are also starting to leverage Linux on their personal machines to match. The dilemma that a lot of IT admins run into is that Microsoft Active Directory® (AD), which has never played nicely with Linux (or Macs for that matter), is still the primary solution for managing access to IT resources. Fortunately, new cloud IAM alternatives to AD are changing all of that.
Legacy IAM Solutions Feature Limited Linux User Management
The IAM space historically has been driven from on-prem directory services solutions such as AD and OpenLDAP. For AWS Linux instances, many DevOps organizations are leveraging Chef and Puppet to manage users, but that doesn’t work at scale. While these solutions are somewhat capable of managing Linux, none of them are all that user friendly.
For example, any IT admin will tell you that Active Directory doesn’t manage Linux users the way it does Windows users. While a Linux device can authenticate users to Active Directory with some configuration and effort, managing users on the device can be challenging. Further, while AD executes Group Policy Objects (GPOs) on Windows machines, the equivalent doesn’t exist for Linux within AD. Therefore, IT admins are unable to deploy commands and scripts to set policies on Linux systems the way they would with Windows, not to mention manage user access. This should really come as no surprise – you can’t use GPOs with Macs either, nor manage user access. Linux is a competitor to Windows after all. The trouble is that IT admins are often caught in the middle.
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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Vince Lujan. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/cloud-iam-feature-linux-user-management/