Total Cost of Ownership of Azure AD

By Cassa Niedringhaus Posted January 9, 2020

Microsoft® Azure® is an umbrella for a variety of cloud services, including Azure Active Directory (Azure AD or AAD). On its face, Azure AD might seem like a replacement for on-prem AD or a cloud-based solution for organizations in need of a directory service, but more factors come into play for IT admins making purchasing decisions. Let’s explore the total cost of ownership of Azure AD.

Cost of Azure Active Directory 

Azure AD extends on-prem Active Directory identities to Azure where it serves as the user management function, and for web applications through single sign-on capabilities. Azure AD is sold under four tiers of subscription packages. Depending on the package you select, Azure AD can be free with Azure services because it serves as the substrate identity management solution to control Azure user access.

However, the free package doesn’t include identity and access management for Office 365TM applications, single sign-on (SSO) for more than 10 applications, or other premium IAM (identity and access management) features.

Beyond that, Azure AD can’t really serve on its own as a directory service for organizations that do not already have an AD instance. If you use Azure AD without on-prem AD, you’ll have limited administrative capabilities. For example, you won’t be able to employ the suite of group policy objects (GPOs) to on-prem Windows devices for which AD is known, and you’ll struggle with authenticating local IT resources like applications and file servers. 

In order to fully leverage Azure AD, Microsoft’s reference architecture suggests an array of Microsoft-based tools. For those who want to connect Azure AD identities to other IT resources, they’ll require an even greater number of solutions.

The important thing to note is that by using Azure AD, you are thereby encouraged to use Azure throughout your environment. Azure AD, like AD, encourages the use of Microsoft infrastructure and services/applications. This strategy has been successful for Microsoft in the past, and the company is employing it again to work to lock-in customers to Microsoft services.

To fully assess the TCO (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Cassa Niedringhaus. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/azure-ad-total-cost-ownership/