What is Azure AD?

Azure AD is a managed service from Microsoft that uses cloud capabilities for identity and access management. With Azure AD, subscribers can use a single username and password to sign into internal resources like intranet and external resources like applications developed by Microsoft and its partners. As a multi-tenant service, Azure AD can be used on both cloud and on-premises environments. While single sign-on (SSO) is not a new feature, Azure AD extends its capabilities to transcend boundaries based on organizations, devices, and platforms. Let us understand what Azure AD is in the context of the requirements of a modern enterprise.

Why Use Azure AD

Azure AD provides secure access to enterprise resources with advanced features like SSO and multi-factor authentication (MFA) that have proven to be effective from virtually all forms of cyber-attacks. Here are some reasons for businesses to implement Azure AD.

  • Enables seamless connection

    Azure AD acts as a single point solution for connecting on-premises and remote workforces. It automates workflows for enhancing productivity. Implementing Azure AD improves provisioning capabilities with self-service management thereby reducing resource requirements.

  • Extends application accessibility

    With support for thousands of pre-integrated applications, users can launch their favorite applications directly from the Azure Marketplace without additional setup because of SSO.

  • Administers granular control

    Subscribers have the flexibility to enforce stringent policies for access control and identity management to ensure that only authorized people have access to the resources that they need.

  • Promotes engagement

    Azure AD is the perfect platform to securely engage with customers and partners with a singular identity solution. It simplifies user journey with easy but strong authentication measures.

  • Promotes application adoption

    Azure AD minimizes the friction involved in signing up for applications by automating the process. It makes it easier to create, manage, and remove user accounts.

What Are The Features Of Azure AD?

Every Microsoft Online business service includes Azure AD with all its free features. The paid capabilities of Azure AD implementation include provision for self-service along with better monitoring and reporting capabilities with simplified access.

Here are some of the capabilities of an Azure AD implementation.

  • Application management

    Azure AD provides for an Application Proxy that enables access to both cloud-based and on-premises applications with SSO. The Access panel also called the My Apps portal provides a consolidated view for all SaaS applications. In Azure AD, developers have a potent solution for calling Microsoft and third-party APIs while building applications. Admins can grant access to specific apps with powerful user management capabilities.

  • Stakeholder management

    With Azure AD, businesses can manage access to not only their own enterprise users but also external stakeholders. Businesses can protect their corporate data while providing limited access to guest users and external stakeholders. Applications that are used by customers can also be effectively protected by Azure AD with enhanced control over the signup and sign-in process.

  • Resource management

    Azure AD makes it possible to set policies on how devices can access the organization’s resources. This capability extends to both cloud-based, and on-premises devices. Additionally, it simplifies access to Azure virtual machines linked to a domain without the use of domain controllers.

  • Identity management

    A single user identity as an employee, partner, customer, vendor, or any other stakeholder will suffice to authenticate and authorize access to a host of resources regardless of the location. Admins can easily identify vulnerabilities to identities by tracking suspicious activities and take appropriate steps to resolve them.

  • Monitoring and reporting

    Azure AD can help derive detailed insights into activities in the subscriber’s Azure environment based on application and service utilization, vulnerabilities, and productivity issues.

Who is Azure AD For?

All subscribers to Microsoft 365, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online, or Azure benefit from the capabilities of Azure AD in managing access to integrated cloud applications.

At an enterprise-level, Azure AD is most beneficial to IT admins and app developers. IT admins can use Azure AD to automate app provisioning, enable MFA for accessing organizational resources, and enforce policies to protect user identities and credentials for meeting governance requirements.

App developers, on the other hand, can personalize app experiences with APIs and implement SSO for frictionless application access.

Difference Between Azure AD Plans

Azure AD implementation is available in four different licenses.

Azure Active Directory Free includes user and group management features along with on-premises directory synchronizing capability, basic reporting features, SSO, and self-service password change.

Azure Active Directory Premium P1 builds on the capabilities of the free version with advanced reporting and self-service features along with improved administration capabilities and access to Microsoft Identity Manager.

Azure Active Directory Premium P2 introduces more features in addition to the P1 and Free licenses. It includes Azure Active Directory Identity Protection for risk-based conditional access and Privileged Identity Management for restricting, monitoring, and discovering how admins access resources.

Implementing Azure AD For Organizations

Azure AD is not only a necessary feature for using Microsoft Online business services but an important platform for protecting user identity in a world that is increasingly becoming cloud-centric. When configured correctly, it can be a single point solution for protection against virtually all forms of cyber-threats. As a Tier 1 Microsoft Partner, Apps4Rent provides 24/7 email, phone, or chat-based technical assistance, advice, and support to invent and deliver the Azure solutions tailored to your organization’s needs. Contact us today for promotional prices.

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