For a long time, IT admins have enjoyed using the Microsoft® Active Directory® feature called GPOs (Group Policy Objects). This tool has been incredibly valuable to managing fleets of Windows systems. For many admins, it is one of the main reasons why they continue to use Active Directory. This raises the question, though, is there is a cloud Group Policy Object (GPO) alternative?
The Underlying Need for a Cloud GPO Alternative
Really, the question goes further than whether or not there is a GPO alternative in the cloud. The question actually revolves around the possibility of IT admins extending the GPO concept to include non-Windows platforms like macOS and Linux®. Unfortunately, there is no way for Active Directory to natively extend GPOs to Mac® and Linux. It just wasn’t built for that purpose, and Microsoft has no intention of enabling their competitors’ platforms either. There are third party solutions that can extend GPOs to non-Windows devices, but these are enterprise scale on-prem systems that integrate tightly with AD. These aren’t a cloud alternative, and they add unnecessary complexity to your infrastructure as well.
Many IT admins have theorized that Azure® Active Directory’s capabilities could include a cloud GPO alternative. However, here too, there are issues. While the concept of GPOs does exist for Windows systems located in Azure, once again there is a disconnect on how to make them work on Mac and Linux platforms. Similar to the on-prem discussion above, Microsoft would suggest leveraging another piece of software called Intune to help manage your system. Unfortunately, though, Intune’s capabilities to manage Mac and Linux systems is limited, and it leaves admins to deal with workarounds and complexity that they just don’t have time for.
Finding a Cloud Group Policy Object Alternative
So, all of this brings IT organizations back to the original question: “Is there really a cloud Group Policy Object alternative that can handle cross platform environments?” The good news is that not only is there a cloud GPO alternative that works with heterogeneous environments, but the solution is also a (Read more...)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Jon Griffin. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/cloud-group-policy-object-gpo-alternative/