What are Group Policy Objects?

What are Group Policy Objects?What are Group Policy Objects (GPOs)? In short, GPOs are predefined commands, scripts, and task execution templates that control Windows® systems and their policies. They come standard with the Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) platform, which has helped IT admins manage Windows users and systems for years. Recently, however, the challenge has become figuring out how to provide similar functionality for Mac® and Linux® too. Fortunately, a new solution called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® has emerged that offers cross-platform GPO-like capabilities from the cloud. First, though, let’s take a closer look at traditional GPOs.

Group Policy Objects Explained

Legacy GPOs with AD

Traditional GPOs are Microsoft constructs that were designed to control Windows system policies. These policies can include things like screen lock timeout, USB port functionality, control panel access, and a lot more. In fact, IT admins can leverage traditional GPOs to remotely configure just about anything on a Windows system. However, the greatest advantage offered by GPOs is that IT admins can remotely manage fleets of Windows-based systems en masse from one central location via AD.

It’s easy to understand how managing groups of Windows systems at once from one central location is an advantage compared to manually configuring systems on an individual basis. The challenge for IT admins is, of course, that traditional GPOs don’t support Mac and Linux systems out-of-the-box. As a result, IT admins have had to purchase and implement third-party add-on utilities to provide a GPO equivalent for Mac and Linux.

To be fair, the add-on approach has been effective at delivering GPO-like capabilities for Mac and Linux. However, the issue with this approach is that add-on solutions, not surprisingly, add significant cost and complexity to the management picture. Not only that, but they still require an existing on-prem AD implementation. The end result is a highly decentralized and antiquated approach to identity and access management, much to the chagrin of IT admins.

Fortunately, even though traditional GPOs are unique to Microsoft solutions, the concept of group-based policy management isn’t exclusive to any particular platform or vendor. As a matter of fact, (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by George Lattimore. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/what-are-group-policy-objects/

George Lattimore

George Lattimore

George is a writer at JumpCloud, a central source for authenticating, authorizing, and managing your IT infrastructure through the cloud. With a degree in Marketing and a graduate degree in progress in Public Communications and Technology, George enjoys learning how the IT landscape is adapting to a diversified field of technology.

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