Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for Linux®

GPOs for Linux

Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for Linux® would be a dream come true for IT admins. Unfortunately, GPOs are a unique feature of the Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) platform that only works for Windows® based systems. The good news is that a next generation cloud directory services platform has emerged that has expanded the concept of group based policy management to support cross-platform system environments (i.e., Linux, Mac®, Windows).

However, before we dive into the benefits of a GPO-like feature for Linux, we should discuss the significance of traditional GPOs from a high level.

What is Group Policy in Active Directory?

cross-platform device management

Group Policy is the term for Microsoft’s concept of group based policy management for Windows systems. Group Policy Objects, or GPOs for short, are essentially the expression of this concept. GPOs are effectively formal commands, templated scripts, and task execution guidelines that can be used to manage Windows system behaviors. One of the greatest advantages that GPOs can provide is the ability to manage Windows system groups en masse.

GPOs were one of the key reasons why AD became so popular. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Windows systems and applications were already dominating the IT market when AD was introduced in 1999. Nevertheless, it was a brilliant move for Microsoft to build Windows system management capabilities into their directory service.

The challenge with GPOs, as previously noted, is they only work for Windows systems out-of-the-box. This issue has persisted, despite the growing popularity of Linux and Mac alternatives since the turn of the century. After nearly twenty years, it’s safe to assume that Microsoft isn’t interested in providing support for competing platforms – but where does that leave modern IT admins?

Active Directory GPO Alternatives

Active Directory fails in the cloud

Well, if you’re an IT admin, then you are likely well aware that third party add-on solutions exist that can provide GPO-like capabilities for Linux systems (Macs too). You also probably know that third party add-ons are expensive, and often still require an on-prem AD implementation to operate. If this sounds familiar, then we (Read more...)

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

Vince Lujan

Vince is a documentation and blog writer at JumpCloud, the world’s first cloud-based directory service. Vince recently graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing from the University of New Mexico, and enjoys researching new innovations in cloud architecture and infrastructure.

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