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GPOs for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Is there an all-inclusive solution that offers GPOs (group policy objects) for Windows®, macOS®, and Linux® systems? It would certainly be helpful for IT admins in cross-platform system environments, which is the vast majority.

Unfortunately, traditional GPOs are Microsoft® constructs. As such, they are primarily for Windows-based systems unless you employ additional third-party tooling.

The good news is that a next generation Directory-as-a-Service®, by JumpCloud®, can provide GPOs-like Policies for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. But first, let’s see what traditional GPOs are all about.

Group Policy Overview

Group Policy Objects have historically been one of the most powerful features of the Microsoft Active Directory® (AD) platform. GPOs basically enable IT admins to manage policies on fleets of Windows-based systems from a centralized control center.

GPOs can be used to configure screen lock timeout, password policies, guest access, USB ports, and a wide variety of Windows system policies. The key advantage with AD GPOs is that admins no longer have to configure system policies locally per system, but rather, remotely and in groups.

The challenge is that traditional GPOs only work for Windows systems in a pure AD environment. As macOS and Linux grow in popularity, it has become apparent that cross-platform GPOs for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems would be practical.

Of course, IT admins can layer add-on solutions on top of AD to extend GPO-like functionality to non-Windows resources. But the question is, is there an all-inclusive solution that offers GPOs for Windows, macOS, and Linux?

To answer that question, let’s break down the concept of GPOs even further.

Reimagining GPOs

We know that traditional GPOs are AD constructs, but what is a GPO? Well, at its core, a GPO is really just a templated command or script that is used to control a specific Windows system policy (through a registry setting, configuration, file or other process) such as one of the examples previously mentioned.

So, the concept of GPOs for macOS and Linux isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel. The cross-platform approach is simply removing (Read more…)

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