What is Azure Active Directory?
Azure Active Directory is a service that lets you easily achieve all your Identity and Access Management needs as simply as turning on the light. With Azure AD you can create a private identity directory in the cloud. Similarly to Windows Server Active Directory, Azure AD lets you centrally control access to applications and resources. You can easily add existing resources (cloud services or on-premises applications), as well as integrate applications you are developing. With Azure AD, your users get single sign-on access to all their applications, ensuring that they don’t need to know where to find each app and that they don’t need to remember a separate password.
Azure AD can be used as a standalone cloud directory or to extend on-premises identity and access management solutions you have into the cloud. In this case you can continue benefiting from your existing investments and on-premises capabilities while leveraging Azure AD to gain identity and access management in the cloud. Learn more.
In addition, you can set rules and policies that control who has access and under what conditions. For example, you can require Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and manage access based on the device or location. Learn more about Azure MFA.
All of these rules and policies, including MFA, can be enforced for access to cloud applications or to legacy on-premises applications using the built-in Application Proxy - without the need to rewrite them or expose them directly on the internet. Learn more about Azure AD Application Proxy.
Finally, Azure AD provides information about what is going on in your organization at your fingertips. With advanced reporting and analytics, you get unique information about your users’ access. For example, using application discovery, you can find out which applications are actively used in your organization. Learn more about Azure AD cloud app discovery.
Because it is such a comprehensive service, Azure AD provides different benefits to different people within an organization:
- For business decision makers, Azure AD lets you achieve the promise of a mobile workforce and harness the power of cloud applications with the confidence that your governance requirements are being met.
- For a service providers, Azure AD lets you easily address all of your identity and access needs, connecting your services to you customers’ existing identity solutions while giving you reach to Microsoft Azure and Office 365 customers. Azure AD is your one-stop shop to enable businesses and consumers to easily adopt your solution. Azure AD can also address all of your back-office access needs; whether in-house or outsourced, you can be confident the right people have the right access.
- For IT professionals, Azure AD increases your control and visibility of operations while achieving velocity and agility of the cloud. Azure AD lets you discover what people are using and empowers them through self-service.
The best thing is that with Azure AD everything is pre-integrated. Multi-factor authentication, SaaS applications, hybrid tools, and self-service capabilities are all ready to go. Administrators have access to the Azure AD management portal and Windows PowerShell for comprehensive management. Developers have a consistent set of RESTful APIs and easy access to publishing and consuming application interfaces. End users get a simple experience, putting their profiles, applications, and their ability to manage their access to resources in one place, without any need for specialized training.
Azure AD has a number of functional levels, spanning from a cloud directory with application access to a comprehensive, rule-driven, self-service managed solution. Azure AD is available to everyone for free, sign up now to an Azure trial and your directory will be waiting for you. The directory is yours whether you buy anything or not. To get the full richness of features described here activate your Azure AD premium trial. Learn more about Azure AD editions.