Group Policy Objects (GPOs) offer some of the most powerful capabilities of the Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) platform. The challenge has always been that GPOs only work for Windows® based systems, unless you want to implement workarounds and third-party tools. Furthermore, Active Directory requires a lot of on-prem infrastructure to operate. That is why the concept of a cloud-based solution that can offer cross platform GPO-like capabilities would be a game changer.
Fortunately, a next generation directory service platform has emerged that can provide group based policy management in cross platform system environments. This platform is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. However, before we discuss the benefits of JumpCloud policy management, we should outline the significance of GPOs from a holistic perspective.
A Brief Explanation of Group Policy Objects
The modern concept of group based policy management can be traced back the release of Active Directory. AD was released in 1999. It was a time when Microsoft Windows® was effectively the only enterprise computing platform, and just about everything was on-prem. Everyone had a Windows-based system, so it made sense for IT admins to have a Windows-based system management tool.
GPOs are effectively an instantiation of this concept. For example, if an admin wants a subset of their systems to connect to a particular printer, there’s a GPO for that. If they want to disable the USB ports on the same or a different subset of systems, there’s a GPO for that too. In essence, GPOs enable IT admins to configure settings across groups of systems.
It is easy to see how group based policy management can be an advantage, especially for organizations with a large number of systems. The challenge for modern IT organizations is that GPOs cannot be applied to macOS or Linux systems without add-on solutions. While this wasn’t an issue initially, macOS and Linux have become major players in the enterprise system market. Consequently, AD has become at best a partial solution from a modern system management perspective.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Vince Lujan. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/cross-platform-gpo-like-capabilities/