Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is Microsoft's cloud-based identity and access management service, which helps your employees sign in and access resources in:
1. External Resources: Such as Microsoft 365, the Azure portal, and thousands of other SaaS applications.
2. Internal Resources: Like apps on your corporate network and intranet, along with any cloud apps developed by your own organization.
Key Features and Capabilities of Azure AD
Single Sign-On (SSO): Azure AD simplifies the login process by providing single sign-on to a wide range of applications, reducing the need for multiple usernames and passwords.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enhances security by requiring two or more verification methods to verify a user’s identity before granting access to resources.
Application Management: Offers easy integration with a vast number of external SaaS applications and internal applications.
Device Management: Integrates with Microsoft Intune to enable device management policies, ensuring secure access to data and resources.
User and Group Management: Provides tools to create and manage user identities and groups, helping organize access to enterprise resources.
Identity Protection: Utilizes adaptive machine learning algorithms and heuristics to detect anomalies and protect user identities and credentials.
Conditional Access Policies: These policies provide granular control over how and when users can access resources, based on conditions like location, device health, or user risk level.
Azure AD Editions
Azure AD comes in several editions:
Free: Provides user and group management, on-premises directory synchronization, basic reports, and self-service password change for cloud users.
Office 365 Apps Edition: Comes with Office 365 subscriptions and includes conditional access based on group, location, and device status.
Premium P1: Includes everything in the Free edition plus advanced administration, dynamic groups, self-service group management, Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM), and cloud write-back capabilities.
Premium P2: Includes all the capabilities of P1, plus Identity Protection and Privileged Identity Management (PIM).
Azure AD is a key component for managing cloud-based IT environments and is particularly useful for organizations that leverage other Microsoft cloud services. It's designed to work with both on-premises Active Directory and various cloud services, providing a unified identity for users across all their platforms.