Group Policy (GPOs) for Heterogeneous Environments

Group Policy (GPOs) for Heterogeneous Environments

Is Group Policy (GPOs) for heterogeneous environments a potential solution for IT admins? It’s a great question, but unfortunately the answer is no. GPOs are a Microsoft® Windows® centric construct. They were not built for Mac® or Linux® systems, and they cannot reach those platforms without help from 3rd party tools. That being said, this doesn’t mean that the premise of having control over heterogeneous environments is impossible. There are alternatives to GPOs that accomplish the same effective goal – comprehensive system management.

Microsoft’s GPOs

There's Microsoft GPOs and then there's Group Policy for Heterogeneous Environments

We should probably back up to give some context. If you don’t know what GPOs are, they are a collection of settings that define what a system will look like and how it will behave for a defined group of users (TechTarget). These collections of settings are preconfigured into templates of policies, which can then be run against your fleet of Windows machines. The policies can serve a number of purposes, but most commonly you will see them implemented as security tasks like password complexity settings, screen saver lock, and disabling guest accounts. Other common usages of GPOs include remote management tasks or settings that IT admins want to enforce on their Windows fleet.

The idea behind Group Policy was simple, but powerful. Microsoft wanted to give IT admins remote control over their systems. In order to do this, Microsoft embedded this concept of system management within their identity provider, Active Directory® (AD). In doing so, Microsoft created a central directory that allowed admins to control access to the on-prem applications and systems of the early 2000s. This turned out to be a brilliant move, as it helped AD to become the on-prem leader in directory services.

Over the years, though, Active Directory has started to lose steam.

GPOs Were Built for Outdated IT

Group Policy for Heterogeneous Environments is an update to the GPO concept

With major cloud transformations underway, and the shift to web applications in full swing, Active Directory has struggled to keep up. AD now manages much less of an organization’s IT infrastructure. If you add in the massive movement to Mac and Linux (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Jon Griffin. Read the original post at:

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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