Is Azure® AD Better than AD?

is azure ad better than ad

With the introduction of Microsoft® Azure®, many IT organizations are wondering if they should be shifting to the cloud versions of Microsoft technology. Obviously, Office 365 has become the replacement for Office. Is Microsoft introducing a cloud alternative to Active Directory®  (AD) with Azure? Is Azure AD better than AD?

To answer these questions, we really need to understand Microsoft’s strategy in the directory services space.

Microsoft’s Plan of Action

Microsoft has owned the identity provider for virtually all organizations since the advent of AD in 1999. This, of course, has supported their drive to lock-in customers into Microsoft platforms. For a while, IT admins were relatively okay with this because Microsoft also had a monolithic presence in productivity applications, email, systems, and file servers. AD worked beautifully with these on-prem Microsoft resources.

However, as you probably know, this well-engineered ecosystem started to break down with the rise of Mac® and Linux® systems, web-based applications, cloud servers, and new options for file storage. First, these new IT resources are not Microsoft-based, and second, many of them are cloud-based. Active Directory simply wasn’t built to connect with these kinds of resources, so secure identity management became cumbersome and costly.

Then, Microsoft introduced Azure AD. IT organizations eagerly wondered, “Will Azure AD replace AD?” “Will we finally have a cloud version of Active Directory?” The answer turned out to be no.

The Truth About Azure AD

Active Directory fails in the cloud

Azure AD is a complement to Active Directory, not an alternative. The core of Microsoft’s identity management strategy is still Active Directory on-prem. What Azure AD really is, is a user management system for Azure-related services, and a single sign-on solution to web applications. While it has the ability to manage user logins for Windows 10 devices, it largely is not meant to control on-prem resources and it still doesn’t integrate with Mac and Linux systems. Much like AD, Azure struggles with non-Windows resources too.

With this known, it is clear that Azure AD is not better than AD. So, as IT organizations continue to (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Natalie Bluhm. Read the original post at:

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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