Remember a few years ago when security pros and IT admins were afraid to store business files on the cloud? Today, the circumstances are different. I recently spoke with an engineer and he said he’s getting more questions about the cloud than ever before.
What’s more, according to Microsoft, 86% of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft cloud services – Azure, Office 365, CRM Online etc – all of which sit on Azure AD. And so it’s time that we embrace the future and start learning about the difference between Windows Server Active Directory and Azure AD, Azure AD premium, Azure AD Connect and more.
Yes, there are already many articles and books, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a human explain how things work. So this week, I scoured through hours of Ignite and TechEd videos and found the best Azure AD explainers. By the way, if you’re already using Office 365, you’re already using Azure AD. That seemed to be the same (trick) question asked on almost every video.
Azure Active Directory, described four different ways:
- Whiteboard description of the difference between Windows Server AD and Azure AD:
- A human whiteboards how Azure AD works:
- Interactive, college-style lecture on Azure AD
This video also explained Azure AD, but also provided foundational information on the challenges that lead to the creation of Azure AD, ie. the enormous amount of apps, multitude of devices, while maintaining all sorts of credentials and connections with all your Saas applications.
I also really liked the Cloud App Discovery feature. You’re able to get a report of how many SaaS applications your users are using and which users (and how much) are using the applications.
Azure AD Premium: If you’re curious about Azure AD premium, this video is a demo of an enterprise that had data on-prem, but started to move to cloud applications such as Office 365, workday HR, Salesforce and Marketing applications.
Azure AD Connect: The connector is a great tool to integrate your on-premise identity system with Azure AD and Office 365.
Azure AD best practices: It’s extremely helpful to learn from others, especially what worked, what didn’t work, especially circumstances under which important, fundamental security and infrastructure decisions were made.
Authentication on Azure AD: Before federation, a user had to share their username and password with any application that they wanted to use services on their behalf. Users had to trust unknown applications with their credentials, users had to update all their applications if their credentials changed, and once you provided your credentials, they could all do whatever they wanted. See what federation protocols, libraries and directories you’ll be using to authenticate on Azure AD and 101 ways to authenticate with Azure AD.