Software is inherently dynamic. It is dynamic not just because the data within our software application is constantly changing in size, shape and scope, but also because we use so many different applications in enterprise computing environments as roles change, organizations merge and as systems evolve.
Our applications are also now subject to a new shifting force created by the dynamism inherently present in cloud computing. Enterprises are now working with cloud-native technologies that may need to jump between clouds depending on where services are best served on the basis of price, functionality, latency and so much more.
Cloud: a broad substrate layer
Today we know that cloud computing and the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model of virtualized compute, storage, analytics and other services is all-pervading. It now serves as a broad substrate layer upon which many new tools, functions and services are created and built.
Within and across the dynamic cloud fabric itself there is a mission to combat complexity, compartmentalize not just [software] containers but also be able to package existing functions in sprawling stacks into more easily-deployable solutions. All of this movement is happening in line with the push to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the form of hands-free autonomous automation advancement.
That’s the way our IT is growing, so we will logically need to be able to move across this new IT fabric but still retain control of our personal (and intelligent machine) identity control. In other words, we need to know who is allowed to do what, with what applications… and make that process seamless both for IT to control and for users to use.
Aiming to reflect some of these mission elements in, through and on its own technology development roadmap is JumpCloud, a company known for its unified device and identity management platform directory. The company’s technology base spans functions including Mobile Device Management (MDM), Single Sign On (SSO), Multi-Factor Authentication, Privileged Access Management and more across Windows, Mac and Linux environments.
Keeping remote afloat
The JumpCloud Directory Platform helps IT teams ‘make remote work happen’ (a term it has sought to coin) by centralizing management of user identities and devices, enabling small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt zero-trust (nothing is authentic, until it’s authenticated) security models. The company explains this as helping employees jump to their assets, whether this is someone working on their laptop with their applications authorized, as well as cloud assets that must be kept secure.
Keen to broaden its scope, purview and customer base, the EMEA team at JumpCloud assembled in London this week to explain its expansion plans and welcome industry veteran Denis Dorval as vice president to manage EMEA expansion from London. The expansion and Dorval’s arrival follow a year of strong revenue growth and customer momentum for JumpCloud in both the USA and EMEA regions.
“The rapid growth of our customer base shows admins everywhere need simple, effective ways to manage IT,” said Kevin Biggs, chief revenue officer, JumpCloud. “Our mission is to make work happen and a critical element of that is providing robust support and resources to power IT teams.”
The hybrid-remote work model
JumpCloud’s Dorval puts all of this in context and suggests that the company’s platform is well placed to serve the new hybrid-remote work model that so many people are getting used to in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The phrase new normal has of course been overused already, but that doesn’t mean it is not accurate, particularly for those small companies that don’t have much in the way of IT resources on-staff. It means that many organizations are looking for IT products and services that unify and secure user access across an entire employee base’s workflow. JumpCloud is that technology says Dorval.
“JumpCloud’s directory foundation offers a centralized approach to identity that can power – and secure – everything an employee needs to do,” he added.
The company insists that its growth claims are not mere showboating, it has ramped up its own-brand JumpCloud University courses to drive user certification; it also plans to double its EMEA Managed Services Providers (MSP) footprint in the next 12 months.
Currently, over 300 MSPs across Europe make JumpCloud’s directory platform the core of IT operations, using it to securely connect users to cloud and on-premises resources and devices.
Mid-size market matters
Employee Zero is a Managed Services Provider (MSP) based in the UK that has worked with JumpCloud since 2016. CIO Cherie Pitcher explains that her firm’s customers are small to midsize-enterprises (SMEs) that have to achieve a wide range of goals, while dealing with a competitive market for IT talent.
“They need services that can help them meet their goals, be implemented quickly and deliver a fast return on investment. Working with JumpCloud, we can help customers with their ongoing needs for remote work support, covering multiple use cases in one platform,” she said.
Another illustrative use-case of JumpCloud is Swvl (pronounced: swivel), a global provider of tech-enabled mass transit services, currently operating in 115 cities in 18 countries across Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
“With the JumpCloud platform as our IT foundation, we now have a single cloud directory that can connect to all our IT resources including devices, applications, servers, networks and cloud-based infrastructure, making work happen at Swvl so that we can keep cities, people, and businesses moving,” said Mostafa Kandil, CEO, Swvl.
What Swvl shows, in JumpCloud’s opinion, is that connecting everything up is essential to make the job managing IT easier and that small businesses need that ‘new backbone’ to work effectively around cloud. With everyone at home, either because they were forced to be or because their companies like to support their staff being flexible, it is critical to secure that access. It is also about more than users, covering all the assets that IT is responsible for in the cloud and in the software that developers create too.
What is happening here is highly reflective of the way cloud computing is developing today; it is creating cloud-native functions that can finesse the way cloud is actually used in real world live use environments. JumpCloud is offering a Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS) function that enables organizations to manage user (and device) identities for cloud-based work tasks, inside cloud-managed workflows, as a cloud-delivered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) function.
With a host of other cloud-centric identity management players out there – Okta, Ping Identity, OneLogin, ForgeRock, CyberArk and Microsoft would all be usual suspects here – JumpCloud will have to be vocal if it wants to shine in the identity market. The fact that the company talks so much about small and mid-size companies does (arguably) set it apart, but how long will this go unnoticed by all the others that are out there?
Given that we now live with smart machines and IoT digital twins that themselves also need identity management alongside us human users, the growth of identity services is something we should all (arguably) identify with.