GPO Alternative for Windows

As IT organizations move away from Active Directory® (AD), the legacy directory services solution from Microsoft®, IT admins are in search of a group policy object (GPO) alternative for Windows®. The challenge is that there really hasn’t been a significant alternative to AD GPOs in the market, and with good reason too. 

After all, it has historically been next to impossible to beat Microsoft at their own game. GPOs, especially, have been the bread and butter of the AD platform for many years. Now, however, next-generation cloud directory services solutions have emerged that are essentially Active Directory and LDAP reimagined for the modern, cloud era. 

So, can any of them offer a true GPO alternative for Windows? Let’s take a closer look. 

GPOs Explained

First, let’s understand the logic behind traditional GPOs. 

Traditional Group Policy Objects are essentially templated configurations, commands, and scripts designed to enable IT admins to manage Windows system settings. GPOs came to be back when IT networks were primarily on-prem and based on the Windows OS (circa 1999). 

With so many Windows systems, especially in larger organizations, it made sense for IT admins to be able to manage common system policies. These included core IT functions such as screen lock timeout, password complexity, USB port functionality, full disk encryption (FDE), and more across their entire Windows fleet rather than having to configure them all individually. 

In short, GPOs meant that IT admins could configure policies on all of the Windows systems in their environment from one centralized location. 

Changes in the IT Landscape

Of course, as we all know, the IT landscape started to change dramatically in the 2000s with the introduction of macOS® and Linux® systems and, of course, the cloud. With respect to traditional GPOs, the introduction of macOS and Linux systems meant that IT admins could no longer configure system policies throughout their entire fleet as AD GPOs only worked for Windows. While this limitation was only a minor inconvenience at first (with a small number of macOS or Linux (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – 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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