Overview of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) – Part 1

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is the Cloud based Directory Service. It provides many advantages to the IT Admins and Developers. In this Article, we will see in detailed.

For the Part 2 of this Multi Part Articles, Please click  Overview of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) – Part 2

What is Azure Active Directory( Azure AD)?

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is Microsoft’s multi-tenant, cloud based directory and identity management
service. Azure AD combines core directory services, advanced identity governance, and application access
management. Azure AD also offers a rich, standards-based platform that enables developers to deliver access
control to their applications, based on centralized policy and rules.

For IT Admins, AAD provides easy way to integrate on-premises Applications and all the SaaS based cloud applications like Office365, Salesforce, Dropbox. Azure AD can be integrated with an existing Windows Server Active Directory,
giving organizations the ability to leverage their existing on-premises identity investments to manage access to
cloud based SaaS applications.

For Developers, AAD provides easy way to integrate with Applications to provide Identity access which is enables fast and simple way of application access.

Azure AD also includes a full suite of identity management capabilities including

1. Multi-factor authentication,
2. Device registration,

3. Self-service password management,

4. Self-service group management,

5. Privileged account management,

6. Role based access control,

7. Application usage monitoring,

8. Rich auditing and security monitoring and alerting.

These capabilities can help secure cloud based applications, streamline IT processes, cut costs and help
ensure that corporate compliance goals are met.

And more over, It is very easy to integrate with On-Premises Windows Active Directory Services using Azure AD Connect and it gives ability to extend their existing On-Premises Identity Management to all the SaaS Based Application’s Authentications.

azure_active_directoryAzure AD Redundancy and Availability:

Azure AD is the Multi-Tenant, Geo Distributed running out of 28 Data centers across the World. AAD Services are getting replicated between the data centers and copies of the each Tenant Directory data is getting replicated at least 2 regional Data Centers. Hence there is no issues in even one data center goes down, your users will get in using the other Data Centers.

For more details, see Service Level Agreements.

Azure AD Editions:

Microsoft Provides the Azure AD using the Four Different editions. Features and Capabilities are bundled based on the editions. Select edition carefully to enable the features accordingly.

Free Edition:

By Default, When you subscribe for the Microsoft Online Services like Office 365 and  Microsoft Azure you will get Azure AD with all of the Free Features.

If you are an Office 365, Azure or Dynamics CRM Online customer, you might not realize that you are already
using Azure AD. Every Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM tenant is actually already an Azure AD tenant.

With Free editions, you can sync on-Premises Users and Groups and Manage the users in cloud. It provides Single Sign-on(SSO) for Office 365, Azure and many of the Cloud Based Saas Applications.

Azure Active Directory Basic :

Designed for task workers with cloud-first needs, this edition provides cloud
centric application access and self-service identity management solutions. With the Basic edition of Azure
Active Directory, you get productivity enhancing and cost reducing features like group-based access
management, self-service password reset for cloud applications, and Azure Active Directory Application Proxy
(to publish on-premises web applications using Azure Active Directory), all backed by an enterprise-level SLA
of 99.9 percent up time.

Azure Active Directory Premium P1:

Designed to empower organizations with more demanding identity and access management needs, Azure Active Directory Premium edition adds feature-rich enterprise-level identity management capabilities and enables hybrid users to seamlessly access on-premises and cloud capabilities. This edition includes everything you need for information worker and identity administrators in hybrid environments across application access, self-service identity and access management (IAM), identity protection and security in the cloud. It supports advanced administration and delegation resources like dynamic groups and self-service group management. It includes Microsoft Identity Manager (an on-premises identity and access management suite) and provides cloud write-back capabilities enabling solutions like self service password reset for your on-premises users.

Azure Active Directory Premium P2:

Designed with advanced protection for all your users and administrators, this new offering includes all the capabilities in Azure AD Premium P1 as well as our new Identity Protection and Privileged Identity Management. Azure Active Directory Identity Protection leverages billions of signals to provide risk-based conditional access to your applications and critical company data. We also help you manage and protect privileged accounts with Azure Active Directory Privileged Identity Management so you can discover, restrict and monitor administrators and their access to resources and provide just-in-time access when needed.

For more Information about Azure AD Pricing, Please refer the updated Microsoft Pricing Article.

Also, Azure AD provides more other benefits which are B2C, Multi-Factor Authentications which are available on “pay as you go” Editions.. we will see all of them in detailed in the upcoming articles.

For the Part 2 of this Multi Part Articles, Please click  Overview of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) – Part 2

Author Bio

Radhakrishnan Govindan

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