Posted on May 9, 2023
Estimated reading time 6 minutes
Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is an Identity and Access Management (IAM) service essential for managing user access to IT resources.
As a widely used IAM tool with a proven track record spanning two decades, Azure AD is highly regarded for its reliability and effectiveness. Its compatibility with other Microsoft applications makes it easy to integrate, and its scalability ensures it can accommodate organisations of all sizes.
Moreover, Azure AD boasts top-notch security features that provide complete visibility and control over all user activity within your IT ecosystem. Whether your employees work from your office or remote teams are scattered across the globe, Azure AD ensures their safety.
As a pure-play Microsoft partner, we hold an Advanced Specialization certificate in Azure AD design and migration. We’ve already shared our expertise on migrating from Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to Azure AD, and now we want to show you the seven key benefits of Azure AD.
This article will also share how our expert team can help you unlock the full potential of these enhanced IAM tools, ensuring your organisation stays secure and compliant at all times.
How the various features of Azure AD benefit your organisation
Azure AD is a cloud-based identity access management solution representing the gold standard in Identity and Access management tools for seven key reasons, including;
1. Strong Azure Security
According to Microsoft’s Security Defence Report 2022, weak or non-existent password controls still leave over 90% of accounts vulnerable to password attacks. However, in the time it took you to read that last sentence, Azure AD actively prevented over 4,500 password breaches worldwide with its robust security controls. Azure AD is designed to detect and prevent the following types of cybersecurity attack methods:
- Password attacks: Azure AD provides powerful protection against password attacks, whether a hacker is trying to steal user credentials by testing a small list of common passwords on a large number of accounts (aka a password spray attack) or vice versa. With strong password creation protocols, Azure AD is a formidable barrier against cybercriminals seeking to steal user credentials and compromise sensitive data.
- Phishing attacks: Phishing attacks have evolved into a lucrative industry for cybercriminals, with some even offering ‘Cybercrime as a Service’: launching phishing campaigns targeting organisations with weak security measures. Additional features of Azure AD include advanced machine learning algorithms and behaviour analysis tools to detect and prevent malicious phishing attempts, thus offering effective protection against this prevalent attack method.
- Interception attacks: Much like phishing, interception or ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks involve tricking legitimate users into giving away their credentials through bogus webpages or sign-in screens. Azure AD shuts down interception attack attempts by encrypting communications and risk-based authentication (i.e. adaptive security based on continuous user activity analysis).
- Insider threats: Azure AD implements Zero Trust principles to combat insider threats by enforcing stringent verification methods, limiting access to sensitive data and systems, and monitoring user activity closely. These features of Azure AD serve to quickly identify and neutralise any malicious actors within the organisation, thereby preventing any attempt to compromise or damage your network.
2. High availability
Thanks to its cloud-based architecture and built-in failover capabilities, Azure AD is designed to be constantly available, incurring zero downtime in case of a hardware or software failure.
This is highly beneficial to remote working environments because it ensures that users can access their applications and company data at all times.
3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Azure AD’s Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) feature offers extensive configuration controls over MFA rules, allowing organisations to define specific criteria for users and applications, in addition to enhancing password protection.
Furthermore, Azure AD offers a variety of authentication techniques such as push notifications, text messages, phone calls, and mobile applications, making it easier for users to confirm their identities.
4. Reduced costs
Azure AD is offered as a SaaS (Subscription as a Service) package, which means its pay-as-you-go pricing model can scale or reduce as your organisation’s identity access management needs change. It’s also offered as a cloud service, meaning you don’t need to invest in on-premises IAM infrastructure to get the most out of its protections.
Azure AD also integrates with existing Microsoft applications, reducing the need to deploy third-party identity management solutions – reducing company costs.
5. Flexibility and Scalability of identity management solutions
Azure AD deploys advanced cloud-based IAM controls enabling organisations to manage user access from anywhere, at any time, and on any device from one central platform.
It’s easy for IT admins to add or remove users and resources quickly and safely without impacting performance or availability.
6. Easy Integration with Microsoft Applications
Azure AD’s compatibility with existing Microsoft tools and a wide range of third-party applications, both on-premises and cloud-based, is made possible by the support of multiple protocols and standards like SAML, OAuth, and Open ID Connect.
This allows businesses to deploy best-in-class IAM protection seamlessly across their entire ecosystem, ensuring comprehensive security for all their digital assets.
7. Streamlined identity access management controls
Finally, adopting Azure AD can significantly reduce the burden on IT teams by providing them with a centralised administration platform that automates tasks such as user onboarding and off-boarding, password management, and more.
With streamlined controls for applying conditional access policies, monitoring device health, and blocking access when needed, Azure AD can simplify and optimise IT management.
Additionally, it offers auditing and reporting capabilities, allowing teams to easily track security events and fulfil their data governance and compliance obligations.
Atech’s Azure AD migration services guarantee seamless functionality
Atech is skilled in optimising identity management solutions through Azure AD as well as migrating your workloads to the cloud.
Planning your Azure AD journey with us can help you simplify and reduce the costs of modernising your IT infrastructure to counteract the threats posed by increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about how our managed IT services can help your IT budget and resources go further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.