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Azure Active Directory

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If you are looking to organize your company's information, you need an active directory program. Program software can manage your employees and their login details.

Moreover, you can provide them access to various internal and external resources. There are cloud-based resources available for you to use for your company. The best example of this is the Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

But how does an Azure Active Directory help your organization manage their employees and the flow of information? We will go through all of it in this guide, so keep reading.

What is Azure Active Directory?

Azure AD (Azure Active Directory) is a cloud-based management service for access and identity. It assists corporations and firms in helping employees sign in. It also grants them access to various organizational resources.

This closure service can assist in accessing external resources like MS Office 365, the Azure Portal, and various other SaaS applications.

Moreover, they can access internal resources like apps on the corporate intranet and network. This cloud-based service allows you to access any programs or services.

A Big Step Up from Active Directory

Azure Active Directory or Azure AD is the next evolution of access and ID management available on the cloud. Microsoft Inc introduced Active Directory Domain Service back in the day with Windows 2000.

The program can manage various infrastructure systems and components on-premises by single-ID per user.

This approach goes up by a few notches allowing your organization's Identity as a Service across the cloud. Most IT admins are well aware of Active Directory Domain Services. But Azure AD is different.

Active Directory helps organizations create internal uses manually or enables the provisioning of an automatic system that works in-house. You can integrate it with your HR system, such as Microsoft Identity Manager.

On the other hand, modern organizations use Azure AD to sync IDs to the cloud. This service adds support to create users on cloud HR systems automatically.

Active Directory allows organizations to create external users manually in an external AD forest. Therefore, it results in admin overhead to manage the lifecycle of any external IDs or guest users. Azure AD provides a special class ID to support external identities to ensure validity.

Moreover, one of the primary differences between Active Directory and Azure AD is that Active Directory does not natively support SaaS applications.

Instead, you need to do the work using a federation system like AD FS. Nevertheless, Azure AD supports SaaS apps such as SAML, WS-, and OAuth2.

Furthermore, Active Directory does not natively support mobile devices, and you will have to go to any third-party solutions. But this is not the case with Azure AD as it supports mobile devices and provides device state information.

Apart from that, Active Directory also does not support anything outside Windows without any thirc-party solutions. But this is not the case with Azure AD. It works with Linux/Unix virtual machines.

Who Can Benefit from Azure AD?

●      IT Admins

Azure AD can be a huge benefit for IT admins. They use this cloud-based service for controlling access to their applications and other sources as per their business requirements.

For instance, you can use this service for multi-factor ID authentication when accessing various organizational resources.

Moreover, you can use this service to automatically provision your cloud applications and the current Windows Server Active Directory. These cloud-based services include Microsoft Office 365.

Besides that, Azure AD can give you powerful tools to keep your user IDs safe automatically and meet your access governance requirements.

●      Application developers

App developers can benefit from Azure AD as they can use it as a standard approach to use single sign-on to their apps. Therefore, as an app developer, you can work with the user credentials that already exist.

With Azure AD, you can also access APIs that can assist you in building personalized application experiences with existing organization data.

●      MS 365, Office 365, Dynamic CRM, or Azure subscribers

As a subscriber to all these online programs and services, you can already use Azure AD. Furthermore, each online tenet of these services is an Azure AD tenant. Therefore, you can iimmediately begin to manage your access and integrate your cloud applications.

What Are Azure Active Directory Licenses?

MS Online services like MS 365 or MS Azure need Azure AD signing in and assisting in ID protection and management. Subscribing to any of these online business’ services, you will automatically access all other free-of-cost features.

For enhancing your corporate Azure AD implementation, you can also add paid capabilities if you upgrade to Premium P1 or P2 licenses. These are paid licenses that are developed right on top of our current free directory.

Therefore, they ensure easy self-service and enhance monitoring. They also allow more secure reporting and access for all mobile users of your platforms.

●      Azure Active Directory Free

This service provides group and user management on-premises with directory syncing. Some added features include basic reporting, self-service password changing for all cloud users, single sign-in, MS 365, and other SaaS applications.

●      Azure AD Premium P1

Apart from free features, with the P1 license, you will get hybrid users to access both cloud and on-premises resources. In addition, this feature supports advanced administrations, including self-service group and dynamic group management, and MS ID Manager.

Moreover, it supports write-back capabilities to ensure self-service resetting of passwords for all on-premises users.

●      Active AD Premium P2

Apart from frees and P1 license features with P2 licenses, you can use active directory ID protection. It ensures risk-based conditional access to all the applications and various other critical resources.

●      "Pay as you go" licenses

There are additional licenses available that you can use for various B2C and B2B purposes. You can manage IDs and access across different platforms and access other management solutions using these services.

Azure AD Features

Here are some of the features that you will have access to when you have chosen your Azure AD license:

●      Application management

You can manage your cloud applications and your on-premises applications with single sign-on, SaaS apps, and Application Proxy using the MY Apps portal or Access Panel.

●      Authentication

You can manage Azure AD self-service password resetting, along with multi-factor authentication, smart lookout, and customize your banned password list.

●      Azure AD for developers

You can develop applications that can sing in all MS IDs, get tokens to call MS Graphs and other MS APIs, or even use them for custom APIs.

●      B2B and B2C

This service allows you to manage your external partners and guest users. You can do so while keeping control over your corporate resources and data. While with B2C services, you can control and customize all user profiles using your applications.

●      Conditional access and device management

You can manage access to your cloud applications and how your cloud on-premises devices access all the corporate information.

●      Enterprise users and hybrid IDs

It allows you to manage license assignments, access applications and set up delegates using administrators and group roles. You can also use Azure AD to provide single-user ID authorizations to all resources and authentication.

●      ID governance and protection

You can manage your firm's ID through a business partner, employee, app access, service or vendor controls, and perform access reviews. It allows you to detect potential vulnerabilities that influence your firm's ID and configure various policies to take appropriate actions for resolving them.

●      Managed IDs for Azure resources and PIM

It enables you to provide your Azure services with auto-managed ID in Azure Active Directory that authenticates an Azure AD authentication service, e.g., Key Vault.

Moreover, you can control, manage, and monitor the access within your firm. With PIM or privileged ID management, you can work and access various business online services Microsoft provides.

●      Monitoring and reporting

You can gain insights into usage patterns and security patterns within your corporate environment.

Using Azure Active Directory

You conveniently do all administrative work in your Azure AD portal. It includes creating a new tenant for your firm. Before you begin creating a new tenant, make sure you have access to a subscription. If you don't, you can create a free account and try out the service.

Creating a new tenant for your firm

Once you sign in to your Azure portal, you can create a new tenant for your firm. Your new tenant will represent your firm and assist you in managing a specific instance of MS cloud service for your external and internal users.

  • You need to sign in to your Azure portal.
  • From the menu, choose Azure Active Directory. You can select Create a Tenant.
  • Now, on the Basics tab, choose the tenant type that you want to create. It can either be Azure AD or Azure AD B2C.
  • Choose Next: Configuration to move to the Configuration tab.
  • There, you will enter the following information;
    • Enter your organization's name.
    • Enter the initial domain name.
    • Choose the country or region.
  • Now click Next: Review → Create and review the information that you have entered and see if the information is correct or not.
  • When you have confirmed that it is correct, you can Create.
  • You have created your new tenant.

User account in a new tenant

After creating your new Azure AD tenant, you become the first user of that particular tenant. Being the first user, you will have the Global Admin role. You can check your user account by navigating the Users page.

By default, you are selected as the technical contact. However, you can change the technical contact info in the Properties section.

Cleaning up resources

If you do not wish to continue using this service, you can permanently delete the tenant by going through the following steps.

  • You are signed into the directory you want to delete using the Directory → Subscription filter within the portal. You can switch to the target directory if you need.
  • Choose Azure AD, and then on your organization's overview page and select Delete directory.

Final Word

Azure Active Directory has revolutionized ID and access management for your employees and the users of your company's resources.

It provides you with various controls and access features that you can even use with your smartphone, which was not possible previously.

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