We're all facing the new world of cloud-era problems: problems that we haven't faced before, like new security threats to our systems, and personal devices that are unmanaged. These are cloud-era problems, problems that have arisen because the consumer cloud is here. In addition, we now use the cloud to support customers by providing them with custom portals and personalization. We can also collaborate in the cloud with business partners, suppliers, and business customers that we can invite into SharePoint sites (or participate in their SharePoint sites).
Even if your enterprise has a huge investment in on-premises Active Directory environments, it's almost certain that you're also interested in cloud services for which Azure Active Directory provides authentication and access. Cloud-era problems are best resolved with a cloud solution. Azure AD provides an easy way to extend your on-premises identity investment to take advantage of cloud services, and you can decide how much of your identity management goes where.
To use Azure Active Directory, you need an Azure account. If you don't have an account, you can sign up for a free Azure account.
Azure AD directories let you centrally control access to applications and resources, easily add existing resources (cloud services or on-premises applications), and integrate applications you are developing. Because it is a comprehensive service, Azure AD provides different benefits to people in different roles within an organization.
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.
Azure Active Directory provides secure single sign-on to cloud and on-premises applications including Microsoft Office 365 and thousands of SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Workday, DocuSign, ServiceNow, and Box. Learn more about SaaS apps.
Users can launch applications from a personalized web-based access panel, mobile app, Office 365, or custom company portals using their existing work credentials—and have the same experience whether they’re working on iOS, Mac OS X, Android, or Windows devices.
In addition, you can set rules and policies that control who has access to cloud applications and resources, 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.
External users can reach into the on-premises network behind the firewall, securely, by using the built-in Application Proxy. All of the rules and policies you set, including MFA, can be enforced for access to cloud applications or to legacy on-premises applications using 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.
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. 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.
Azure AD comes in three flavors:
To check out features described here, activate your free Azure trial.