Azure Active Directory licensing on Microsoft Azure can be perplexing for several businesses. Microsoft continues adding different license options to its identity services and multiple choices and to lay its foundation on the industry vertical integration. Examples of these licenses are GCC for governments, F1 for the first-line workers, and more. It can be complicated to recognize which licensing option suits your business needs.
Also Read: How to Setup Active Directory on Windows Server 2019
One of the central elements of the contemporary IT infrastructure is identity management. It is up to you to manage resource access to particular users on your on-site network and cloud system. Moreover, there must be a restriction on the unauthorized accounts accessing the authorized apps and data. It is harmful to business, and it definitely gives rise to compliance risk aspects.
The majority of businesses that use Microsoft, regardless of their IT system, must be using Azure Active Directory. This Microsoft licensing assists them in supervising identity services. You might be already using Azure AD, which is packed with Office 365 subscriptions and the Azure subs.
Microsoft provides 4 significant Azure Active Directory Licenses from which businesses can opt from. The present article compares these licenses and discusses the importance of Azure Active Directory at the business level. The article also discusses its comprehensive function within Microsoft’s system. Before learning about these licenses, let’s first get an overview of Active Directory.
Active Directory (AD) aids businesses in dealing with users, groups, and components in their networks. Therefore, you can allocate users to groups and then allocate each of these groups access to explicit network resources, devices, and apps. The particular capability to manage access at various levels facilitates businesses to hand out resources to precise subgroups. The same is vital when viewed from the perspective of resource management and compliance and regulation.
Every Active Directory service is not designed identically. For example, the Active Directory services, Windows Server Active Directory, let businesses deal with the internal assets and user integrity all through the business network. On the other hand, the Azure Active Directory is designed considering cloud services.
Source: Integrate a single forest with a single Azure AD tenant
Read More here: Integrate a single forest with a single Azure AD tenant
Azure Active Directory (alternatively Azure AD) allows you to administer identity like users, groups, etc. It also enables you to manage access to devices, apps, and data through the cloud. This implies that both access and identity are dealt with completely from the cloud. Moreover, all your services and cloud apps will use Azure AD.
One thing to note is Azure AD is straight away helpful for Microsoft apps. However, it could prove useful to command the identity and access controls of your whole organization. Several organizations set up a hybrid AD system with the help of Azure AD and an additional on-premise AD (usually Windows Active Directory.)
Azure Active Directory is useful to supervise identity across Windows, Azure, and web apps. This directory can be thought of as a service present exterior to the Windows Server Active Directory network. The Windows Server Active Directory offers domain services, federation services, lightweight directory services, and more to deal with network policy, identity, and servers on business networks. On the other hand, Azure AD was designed considering web apps.
The significance of Azure AD is high when the matter comes to cloud apps and resources. For example, the on-site Active Directory services, such as Windows Server Active Directory, are appropriate for dealing with identity, SSO, etc., in your network. However, these services cannot manage the complexity of cloud apps. Windows Server AD will supervise your on-premise Active Directory requirements, whereas Azure AD will supervise your cloud Active Directory.
Both these directories are important. Perhaps, you will use both of them for managing access and control for your user and group. Chiefly, Azure AD is helpful for those organizations that already shifted the apps to the cloud. Also, it is helpful for organizations that face several user/password concerns because their existing Active Directory is incompetent to deal with the migration.
Note that the enterprise protocol languages are different for Windows Server AD and Azure AD. The Windows Server AD utilizes LDAP, Kerberos, etc., whereas Azure AD utilizes Rest APIs and OAuth 2.0 tokens. So, it implies that apps should be built with the help of Azure AD.
The following section highlights a few of the Azure Active Directory licensing alternatives. Before moving further, note that Azure AD comes formerly bundled into Office 365 licenses and Azure licenses. But Azure and Office clients can buy P1 and P2 versions for acquiring the extra benefits.
Now let’s look into the various Azure Active Directory licensing options.
Those who want fundamentals Azure AD services must consider one of the 3 tiers, i.e., free, basic, and Office 365. Now let’s look at the basic differences between them:
Free vs. Office 365:
These two Azure AD environments would become parts of your prevailing license. Therefore, if you are having only an Azure license, go for the free version. If you are having only an Office 365 license, then go for the Office 365 option.
The Office 365 option provides 2 benefits to the free version –unlimited directory objects and multi-factor authentication.
Having multiple layers of authentication is vital in the present-day business environment. The unlimited objects are critical for the majority of businesses. This is perceptible chiefly if you have 20+ employees or you are using plenty of cloud apps. Usually, you need not select between these two options. Either you will have an Office 365 license or don’t have one.
Office 365 vs. Basic:
The 2 key differences between these two versions are as follows:
Except for these 2 points, these two versions are identical in terms of features.
For those who want to upgrade into either P1 or P2 space to obtain additional features, the Azure AD resources are certainly enough. These tiers offer certain vital components that are not found in the above 3 versions, i.e., basic, free, and Office 365. These components are beneficial for compliance, security, and identity management.
These features are held back for enterprises. Perhaps, small businesses don’t need any of them.
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1. Is Azure AD available for governments?
Yes, both GCC High and Azure Government support Azure AD.
2. Is Azure AD available for educational institutions?
Yes, Azure AD Free is packed into education licensing for Office 365.
3. Are there any exceptional Azure AD features accessible for those users having a Windows 10 License?
Yes, Azure AD could be used with the Windows 10 licenses. It also provides exceptional features like connecting a device to Azure AD, Administrator Bitlock recovery, and Windows Hello for Azure AD.
P1 and P2 versions come with Azure AD join, MDM self-enrollment, and Enterprise State Roaming.
When the matter comes to Active Directories, each business has unique requirements. The discussed above are the 4 key Azure Active Directory licensing options provided by Microsoft. These options provide the required features for companies of all sizes and shapes.
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