What is Azure Active Directory and Why You Need It

All employees in an organization need access to some Azure services to perform their tasks. They can access services like SQL database, machine learning, or Azure container services when the administrator assigns them separate user id and password for each service. Employees, as well as administrators, often find it hard to manage multiple user logins at the same time. It creates more of a hassle for administrators working in an organization that involves more than 1000 employees. 

This is where Azure Active Directory (AD) comes into the picture. With Azure AD, the administrators can handle multiple user logins without any issue. Administrators need to assign a single username and password to access all the services they want. 

What is the Azure Active Directory?

Azure Active Directory is Microsoft’s multi-tenant, cloud-based directory and identity management service. For an organization, Azure AD helps employees sign up to multiple services and access them anywhere over the cloud with a single set of login credentials.

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Windows AD vs. Azure AD

Windows Active Directory (AD) was the previous version of Azure AD. Active Directory (AD) is an OS directory service that facilitates working with interconnected, complex, and different network resources in a unified manner. The biggest drawback of Windows AD was that it had many layers that performed various bits of work. These layers are described below:

ADDS - Windows Active Directory Domain Services 

ADDS allows the admin to manage information relating to user logins and other details.

ADLS - Azure Data Lake Storage Services 

This layer allows you to store data of any type or size.

ADFS - Active Directory Federation Services 

This layer allows you to have a single option for signing up to get access to all systems and applications.

ADCS - Active Directory and Certification Services 

This layer enables administrators to customize services to manage and issue public certificates.

ADRMS - Active Directory Rights Management Services 

ADRMS is a security tool for data protection. Administrators need to take care of a large number of layers in the case of Windows AD. Here's where Azure AD changed the whole game. It integrates all these five layers into two, and these are:

  1. WAAD - Windows Azure Active Directory 

    This layer combines all the problems related to identity management. 
  2. WAACS - Windows Azure Access Control Service

    This layer enables the federation or the division of all these services of an organization. Here division means assigning each of these services to the users. 

Hence, Azure AD simplifies a lot of problems by using only two layers. For example, Office 365 uses Azure AD to manage user identities. To make use of any of the Office 365 services like Excel, PowerPoint, or Microsoft Word, the administrator would only need to provide a single username and password.

Service Audience 

There are three types of audiences in Azure active directory:

  • IT administrators
  • Application developers 
  • Online customers 

IT Administrators 

IT administrators take care of all the sign-in procedures. They also solve issues related to authentication.

Application Developers 

Application developers use these services to build applications. Development becomes quick since there are many resources available.

Online Customers 

They make use of services like Office 365, CRM services, and have all their demands catered immediately.

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The world of cloud computing is expanding with every passing day; many companies across the globe are shifting to the cloud by leveraging the services that cloud platforms offer. Microsoft Azure is the second-largest cloud service provider, and gaining expertise in it will surely take you ahead in the field of cloud computing. After learning about the Azure active directory, you can learn more about the basics of Azure by opting for Simplilearn’s Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Training. The course can help you create Azure web apps, create and configure VMs in Microsoft Azure, and much more.

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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