Cloud storage systems and methods are described for providing event-based user state synchronization among the various cloud elements. A global user directory is maintained on a remote cloud storage system. The global user directory includes a plurality of global user definitions associated with a plurality of user accounts, where each of the user accounts has access to at least one of a remote file system (RFS) hosted by the remote cloud storage system and a local file system (LFS) hosted by a local cloud storage system. As global user definition are altered on the remote cloud storage system, user events are generated and communicated to the local cloud storage system, where they are applied to synchronize the local user definitions with the global user definitions. The invention facilitates centralized control of user definitions, near real-time event delivery to local cloud storage systems, and separation of authentication processes from customers' active directory services.