The ability to manage systems has traditionally been provided by on-prem Microsoft solutions like Active Directory® (AD) and SCCM® (previously called SMS). However, as more IT resources move away from on-prem Microsoft networks in favor of online alternatives, more IT organizations want a cloud directory that features system management.
The challenge is that system management is often overlooked by cloud directory services that don’t want to step on Microsoft’s toes. Fortunately, a bold new generation of cloud directory service has emerged to change that by providing a cloud directory with a robust system management feature. It’s called Directory-as-a-Service®, but before we dive into the characteristics of hosted system management, let’s first explore the development of the legacy approach to reveal why system management is better in the cloud.
The Legacy Approach to System Management
The modern era of directory services really kicked off with the introduction of the LDAP protocol in 1993. LDAP was developed by our advisor, Tim Howes, and his colleagues at The University of Michigan as a lightweight alternative to the X.500 directory service protocol that was common prior to the release of LDAP. However, LDAP did not offer support for system management.
Microsoft actually pioneered Windows-based system management when they combined LDAP with Kerberos to create Active Directory in 1999. AD’s system management capabilities are manifested in the form of Group Policy Objects (GPOs), which effectively enable IT admins to manage a fleet of Windows systems from one central location by automating a variety of routine and complex tasks like setting screen lock timeout, disabling USB ports, and a lot more.
GPOs are certainly a powerful tool. Yet, they have always been limited in that GPOs can only be applied to Windows-based systems. Of course, this limitation wasn’t really an issue when AD was released since IT networks were predominantly Windows based and on-prem. However, things started to change as Mac and Linux devices made their way onto IT networks.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Vince Lujan. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/cloud-directory-feature-system-management/