Posted on November 10, 2022
Estimated reading time 5 minutes
Do you need an all-encompassing solution to safeguard your company data? One that simultaneously gives enterprise users seamless access to their workplace systems from anywhere?
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) enables businesses to link their on-premises Active Directory to Azure to give their users a frictionless single sign-on (SSO) experience. It’s a cloud-based solution that incorporates a range of identity access management tools to grant users’ just enough access’ as part of your robust security strategy.
This article will outline some of the other features that Azure AD offers to help simplify security and lower IT costs, including Azure identity protection, and more.
What’s the difference between authentication and authorisation?
Not everyone should have access to all information within an organisation’s or network’s confines. Granting full access to all network users poses numerous security risks, fortunately, authentication and authorisation are two vital processes enterprises can use to manage access and safeguard systems.
Authentication describes the process of a person or service requesting access to an identified resource using valid login information. Authorisation determines an authenticated person’s or service’s level of access. Secure identity and access control principles govern MFA (Multi-factor authentication). MFA is based on verifying who, or what is requesting system entry and what that user can potentially do with their level of access.
Furthermore, risk detection principles based on Role-based access control (RBAC) can grant additional conditional access parameters. It works by segregating duties and roles, and allows users to access resources where appropriate.
How Azure AD differs from Active Directory
Enterprises that use SaaS applications and on-premises systems need seamless access to these resources to maintain productivity. Active Directory (AD) manages on-premises infrastructure, and also excels in managing cloud system access and on-premises resources. Deploying both protocols together can provide the ultimate in access and identity management controls within your cloud-based/hybrid environment.
However, it is important to note that Active Directory and Azure AD are not interchangeable. Both have different features and work with user hierarchies in different ways. This means that if you are looking to upgrade your IAM, you may be best advised to work with an Azure AD design and migration specialist. They can advise on the best way to deploy both methods.
Here at Atech, we hold Microsoft’s latest Solutions Partner Specialism in Windows Server migration and SQL Server migration (Azure) as well as Identity and Access Management. We can help you plan optimal Microsoft Azure identity protection strategies. For instance, we can advise on preserving your on-premises organisational units and group policy objects, while also utilising cloud-based IAM tools to modernise workplace security.
Main Benefits Provided by Azure AD Identity Protection
Azure AD can unify on-premises and cloud IAM protocols. Here are some further key advantages of Microsoft Azure Identity Protection technologies:
Microsoft’s reputation and Azure AD support capabilities make it one of the most reliable solutions in IT. It promises 99.9% availability, and it achieves this by writing all data to its Active Primary participation. Then, it will replicate data to Passive Primary and Secondary Replica participation. This means that your enterprise data is guaranteed to be readily available from one of Microsoft’s 28 data centres dispersed around the world.
Robust Azure AD security protocols
Security is paramount for Microsoft. As such, Azure AD manages access using several different methods, including:
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Microsoft Azure AD offers multiple ways for users to access resources (with multi-factor authentication). For instance, you can use Microsoft’s authenticator app, OATH software and hardware tokens, SMS, or voice call.
- Privileged Identity Management (PIM): Azure AD PIM employs detailed privileged accounts management process, creating audit trails for spotting questionable account behaviours.
- Conditional Access: Conditional Access policies apply a set of if-then statements (or ‘rules’). These policies check a variety of signals like user or group membership, IP location, devices, applications used, and more. Additionally, administrators can create “Dynamic Groups,” in which group members will fluctuate based on various factors, including the type of employee, department, location, etc.
- Just in time Access: JIT access can be enabled on Defender for Cloud to lock down inbound traffic to Azure VMs by using rules in your network security group. This means reduced exposure time on open management ports. This achieves the goal of reducing the attack surface without closing down legitimate users.
Straightforward API Integration and collaboration
Azure AD is compatible with a wide range of identity providers and apps, such as:
- Office 365
Azure AD API is also compatible with mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, and applications created using various programming languages (including .NET, Java, Python, and Ruby).
Additionally, you can invite business partners to utilise your application or service. You can allow them to sign in with their Azure-compatible identities, thanks to the B2B functionality. Similarly, the B2C features offer access to customers via Facebook or Google.
Streamlined Azure AD management and Azure identity protection
Azure AD provides users with more authority over their operations, reducing the need for Azure AD support from specialist staff members – saving your business time and money. The self-service password reset (SSPR) feature, for instance, enables customers to reset their passwords with no human intervention.
Also, for easier Azure AD management, its MyApps portal (access panel) provides user group tools, and password management controls. IT managers can access MyApps via a web browser or mobile app.
Enhanced Azure AD Security and Reporting
Gaining a single pane view of your users, data, and applications enhances your organisation’s security posture, alerting your admin teams to suspicious behaviours in your network. It also provides useful information to help budget planners allocate resources effectively.
You can also utilise real-time Azure AD auditing solutions. These third-party platforms use machine learning models to find and address unusual systems behaviour. These interrogations further enhance your capabilities for data discovery, categorisation, and administration of inactive user accounts in real time.
Atech can ensure frictionless functionality with Azure AD Identity Protection
Atech is a pure-play Microsoft Solutions Partner for Modern Work, Infrastructure (Azure) and Security, with Specialism in Identity and Access Management, Threat Protection, Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Azure as well as a longstanding Specialism in Azure Virtual Desktop. We are Azure experts and have extensive experience with Azure migration from migrating or refactoring more than 10,000 servers. This means our skills in optimising and managing your workloads in Azure are unmatched.
We can help you plan your Azure AD journey to meet your long-term company objectives, whether that involves enhancing your security or IT capabilities. We can make modernising your infrastructure cost-effective and straightforward.
So, if you would like to learn more about how our advanced Microsoft Specializations can help your business grow, please get in touch with us now.