With the shift to Azure® for many organizations, a common question is what is Azure Active Directory and what can it be used for? Microsoft® has been shifting a number of their solutions to the cloud including Office and Windows® Server, among others. But, there is a great deal of confusion around the Active Directory® family of solutions. We’ll answer questions around this and more in our overview of Azure Active Directory.
What is Azure Active Directory?
Azure Active Directory (or AAD) is the user management segment of the Azure cloud platform. With it, Azure admins can authenticate, authorize, and manage user access in Azure. Additionally, Azure AD features basic single sign-on (SSO) functionality to connect user identities to select web applications.
Given that it is a cloud identity management program, some people are curious if Azure Active Directory is Microsoft’s move to replace their on-prem directory service, Active Directory. Active Directory is the most widely used on-prem identity management platform in the enterprise today. With IT’s general shift to the cloud, it makes sense to move the directory service with it. So, is Azure AD equal to a cloud Active Directory?
Is it a Cloud Active Directory?
Quite simply, Azure AD is not a replacement to the on-prem Active Directory. Microsoft created Azure AD to be a complement to their on-prem market share leading directory service. Their goal wasn’t to disrupt organizations that already were using AD on-prem, but rather provide a way to extend identities to Azure services as well as third party web applications.
From Microsoft’s perspective this makes a great deal of sense. It doesn’t disrupt customers with their existing identity provider (IdP), but yet provides a path to leverage those identities in Office 365™ and other Azure services. It also provides an easier way for IT organizations to leverage identities for web applications rather than implementing the complex AD FS platform or purchasing third party web application SSO solutions.
What About Using Non-Windows Solutions with Azure AD?
The challenge for most organizations with this approach is that it continues to (Read more...)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Zach DeMeyer. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/azure-active-directory-overview/