Looking for an Azure® Active Directory® (AAD) playbook that can help guide your understanding of its differences with Microsoft® Active Directory (MAD or AD)? Well, it’s a good resource to look for, and at least you’re not alone in needing one. The Microsoft family of identity and access management (IAM) solutions can be quite complicated, so regardless of if you’re an IT admin, managed service provider (MSP), SMB owner, DevOps engineer, or a technologist, it is fairly easy to see why an Azure AD playbook would be helpful.
Microsoft’s Strategy: Double Down On-prem Reliance
To understand how to leverage Azure Active Directory, we need to first step back and understand the history of Microsoft’s approach towards directory services. About twenty years ago, Microsoft introduced the on-prem juggernaut of IT identity management, Active Directory. This was ideal for the Windows®-based networks that were dominant around the world at the time.
A key part of the approach here was the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) server role, which enabled a user to log into their Windows device and subsequently access whatever other Windows-based systems and applications that the individual had access to.
One password, entered through one system, and boom: all the Microsoft resources. Pretty simple, right? But, where are we now with all of the cloud services and changing demands of remote workers? How has this changed?
Why Azure AD is an Extension with Limitations
Hoping for an effective way forward, many IT organizations are asking how Azure AD relates to the traditional, on-prem Active Directory, especially when it comes to those newer cloud services that AD DS struggled with. Is AAD a replacement to AD, or some kind of complement to the on-prem directory service? Unfortunately, Azure AD is not a cloud replacement for Active Directory. As stated by a Microsoft representative in this Spiceworks thread, it’s an extension of on-prem identities to the Azure cloud and the web applications that Azure can manage.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by George Lattimore. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/azure-active-directory-playbook/