Universal Directory Alternative

By Megan Anderson Posted December 19, 2019

Cloud directory services are a relatively new innovation. Organizations wove on-prem Active Directory® (AD) into the fibers of their core identities for decades, but as cloud computing proves to be more resourceful and effective, cloud-based directory services have been gaining momentum.

One option people might consider is Universal Directory (UD), which leverages information from an existing directory such as AD and extends identity attributes to various applications, but is there an alternative worth considering? First you need to establish exactly what you’re looking for.

Directory Expectations

The standards of what a directory service should be were primarily set by Active Directory, as it was virtually the sole enterprise-level directory service for nearly two decades. As the concept of the directory service has moved to the cloud, expectations for a quality directory have only expanded. Today, modern IT organizations expect their core directory service to be: 


The age of on-prem servers is coming to a close. A modern directory is delivered from the cloud and often managed by a third party that does the heavy lifting of ensuring that the service is available, secure, and constantly innovating. 

Capable of Integrating User Attributes and Information

Similar to Active Directory and LDAP’s capabilities, a cloud directory should aggregate information about a user and their role within an organization. Often this information can be used in a variety of contexts, including what access a person requires, what permissions they have, and many others.

Ability to grant AuthN/ AuthZ to All IT Resources

The core capability of any modern directory service is the ability to authenticate and authorize access. Most SSO options have done this just for web applications using SAML, but modern IT organizations need to delegate access to a wide range of other IT resources, including:

  • MacOS®, Windows®, and Linux® systems
  • AWS® and GCP cloud servers among others
  • On-prem and web-based applications
  • WiFi and VPN networks
  • Physical and virtual file servers 

Cross-platform System Management

AD’s strategic play for Windows system management through GPOs was transformative for IT (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Megan Anderson. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/universal-directory-alternative/