There is nothing simple about building, managing, or auditing technical environments anymore. Technology has always been challenging and does require a unique mind set and set of talents, but even more so as layers of technology have been added over the decades.

Managing this stack – on-premise, cloud or hybrid is no small task then. This is what I want to talk with you about in this post: what is the best method for management – native or 3rd party solutions?

The Abridged History of Technological Complexity

I remember when everything was tangible (back in 1998 when I started as a desktop tech). Platforms like Windows NT didn’t exist unless installed on physical servers. Software was installed on workstations and servers. Networks were straight forward. Firewalls and other devices only had so many capabilities and were physical. Virtual was just a pipe dream at this point.

Fast forward to 2020, and not only did virtual technology take permanent root, which added an intangible layer to technological environments, but now we have cloud technology. As we all know, cloud technology virtualizes nearly every aspect: applications, storage, devices, platforms, networks. And, for most companies, their cloud infrastructure is in addition to an already complex on-premise infrastructure, which doesn’t promise to leave anytime soon.

Anyone who architects, engineers, and/or supports a hybrid environment knows how difficult it is to intelligently audit, monitor, expand, maintain and recover these massively complex environments that have organically formed over decades.

Should You Use Native or 3rd Party Management Solutions?

I’ve worn many hats during my IT career. Everything from desktop tech to Sr. Windows Engineer where I did more architecting than engineering. My main role has always been in Microsoft and Microsoft-based platforms, Active directory being my primary focus and area of expertise. Now, with the onset of Azure, that has become a focus for me as well. I mention this only to convey that I have much experience working with native tools and have also had opportunities to work with 3rd party solutions over the years. In fact, Quest solutions was one of those that I deployed prior to working for Quest Software. That’s what my message is to you today and is a frequent topic for discussion when meeting with customers: Why should we use 3rd party tools over native tools, after all, the native tools are free.

But, nothing is actually free. Imagine for a minute a really great stage -- a platform if you will. It’s built high up; it’s sturdy; it has everything you need to do all the things you need to create really amazing performances of all kinds. That’s a picture of your Microsoft platforms. They are really awesome at what they do. They are reliable and provide a solid foundation from which to launch.

But, there’s a problem. The tools that come with that stage are minimally adequate. Accessing that stage requires climbing a scary, not-so sturdy ladder. There’s no railing, so not much to prevent missteps and very little to keep others from using your awesome stage. Only a hammer is provided for you to build all the things you’d like to put on your stage and the same hammer is all you have to keep it in good repair. As you do get things built, it just complicates and adds more to what you have to maintain. Soon, you can only maintain and don’t have time to build anymore. And worse – it’s so complicated that trying to teach others becomes nearly impossible. Soon, you’re stuck in a cycler maze of maintenance madness and unable to continue to create.

All of this is like native tools. You have a great stage, platform, but it’s really hard to build on it, grow it, or even integrate with others. This is what 3rd party solutions help with. They give you more than tools. They give you solutions that allow you to intelligently use your platform. Each 3rd party has their specialties, the things they do the best. Quest is really good at helping you navigate and simplify those layers of technologies that have piled on over the decades. I speak from experience as a customer!

Quests solutions allow you know, audit, monitor, secure, manage, maintain, recover, and migrate your complex Microsoft hybrid environments. Quest’s solutions are not just “nice-to-haves”. The complicated layered technological environments we all have today demand Quest’s solutions for recovery, auditing, managing, and migrating. They provide insight and support that are invaluable to automating maintenance and lighting a path to growth.

Stop the native madness! It isn’t cheaper. It costs money in time, late deliverables, and lack of knowledge that can lead to infiltration and costly mistakes.

I urge you to check out Quest’s new On Demand offerings, which are SaaS for the hybrid world we all must navigate. Also, take a look at the many solid on-premise solutions that are still very applicable. If I were still delivering IT, I know I’d be looking at Quest Software.

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References:

Group Managed Service Accounts Overview - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/security/group-managed-service-accounts/group-managed-service-accounts-overview

Quest One Identity Safeguard - https://www.oneidentity.com/one-identity-safeguard/

Quest Enterprise Reporter - https://www.quest.com/products/enterprise-reporter/

Active Directory Security Risk #101: Kerberos Unconstrained Delegation (or How Compromise of a Single Server Can Compromise the Domain) - https://adsecurity.org/?p=1667

Protected Users Security Group - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/security/credentials-protection-and-management/protected-users-security-group

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