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Pankaj Singh Chandel
Sr. System Administrator at FST Information Technology Pvt Ltd
Real User
Privileged identity access lets us manage, control, and monitor permissions of a particular set of users or group

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution is less time-consuming. We don't have to hire as many resources to give permissions to a particular user or group for any application."
  • "Azure AD needs to be more in sync. The synchronization can be time-consuming."

What is our primary use case?

We provide a pipeline for Azure Active Directory. We are working with premium clients, giving them services, like SaaS application services through Azure Active Directory. Also, we help external clients who are planning to migrate from on-prem to Azure Active Directory. We help them with the setup, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We are providing Office 365 access from Azure Active Directory. We are enabling multi-factor authentication and assigning the licenses for end users.

We can provide access for many SaaS analytics tools, like ERP and CRM. We can provide access from everywhere to Azure AD. So, it will work as an authentication service, then we can provide access to particular SaaS applications. Therefore, we manage all accesses and privileges within Azure AD for different applications.

What is most valuable?

The Privileged Identity Management is a good feature. The identity products of Azure Active Directory are good features. 

There are role-based access controls. Both built-in and custom roles are very useful and good for giving permissions to a particular set of users. 

Privileged identity access lets you manage, control, and monitor permissions of a particular set of users or group. This is a good way to control the access. With the rollback access control, that will secure your environment, e.g., if you want to secure it from an authentication point of view. So, if you are an authentication provider service, your request will go for authentication, then it will go back for service authentication. So, this is a good feature in Azure Active Directory.

Azure AD has features that have helped improve our security posture and our client's security posture. We don't have to manage many things because there are some built-in features inside it. We can set it up once and it will work as an auto process, which is good from our side. On the clients' side, it will then not be challenging when managing stuff, as it will be very easy to manage the client end.

What needs improvement?

Azure AD needs to be more in sync. The synchronization can be time-consuming. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The availability is good. I have never experienced any downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great. If we will go with the custom installation version of Azure AD Connect, i.e., for many users, then we can go with the custom settings. 

I have one client with one tenant. We verified their domain and created many users. It was already on-prem, so we synced all the users from on-prem to Azure AD. We gave those users Office 365 permission from the Office 365 admin center. From there, we enabled the MFA and assigned the licenses. 

We have migrated 10,000 to 12,000 objects from on-prem to Azure AD previously.

How are customer service and technical support?

Whenever I have logged a case with Microsoft, their technical support replies within 24 hours with an email and a call, which is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, our clients only had on-premises Active Directory. They migrated to Azure AD because they didn't want to keep their on-prem environment. There are a lot of challenges with maintaining those servers and other costs. 

It is also a good service. From one console, we can manage many things. It is better if we can work with it from a single console, managing it all with fewer resources. With on-prem, there are many domain controllers that we need for various stages, and we have to manage all the domain controllers. Apart from that, we have to back up and monitor the server as well as do everything for the setup. 

How was the initial setup?

It is a very easy process to set up. First, we need to collect all the information, e.g., the custom domain information, user information, and which kinds of applications the users want to access. All this information is needed. Based on that, we can just set up and go to the Azure Portal. We can go to the Azure Active Directory console from there, where we can verify the domain and do the management. It is a very easy process, which is not time-consuming. Though, if you want to design your own application (customize it) and provide access for a particular user or group, then it can be a bit of a time-consuming process.

What about the implementation team?

I don't think more than one or two people are needed for the deployment. If we have all the information, then we can work alone. Not many resources are needed for this.

What was our ROI?

Azure AD has a good return on investment. We do not need as many servers, electricity, etc. We can save from a cost point of view. Apart from that, if we have a limited set of users, we do not need to go with the extended version of Azure Active Directory, where it costs a lot to enable these services. Azure Active Directory is a good option compared to on-premises. 

This solution is less time-consuming. We don't have to hire as many resources to give permissions to a particular user or group for any application.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are working with the Premium P2 licenses, which are reasonable. If you invest in the on-premises environment setup, then it costs so much. However, on-prem AD gives you the ability to manage your organization in a very organized manner, where you can create a group policy.

Azure AD provides identity access. If you have to go with the identity part only, then Azure AD would be the better option. If you will go with the various authentication authorization and security services, like group policy setup, then on-prem Active Directory would be better.

What other advice do I have?

It is good service and easy to use.

I would rate the solution as a nine out of 10. They should be improving the solution all the time.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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SW
Senior Information Technology Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Has a high learning curve, confusing licensing when users have hybrid deployments, and isn't very intuitive

Pros and Cons

  • "It's not intuitive and we use it mainly for our Office 365 files. The integration between the two is interesting. However, the learning curve is high."
  • "The scalability of the solution is good."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is a hybrid cloud with connectors into Azure/Microsoft 365 cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

I am still figuring out the whole on-prem/Azure Active Directory Premium/Microsoft 365 integrations and administrative connections.

What is most valuable?

The scalability of the solution is good.

Technical support can be helpful.

What needs improvement?

It's not intuitive and we use it mainly for our hybrid capability now and are expanding our footprint in Microsoft 365. The integration between on-prem and Online is interesting. However, the learning curve is high.

When you have an Office 365 enterprise subscription, it comes with Azure Active Directory, however, you don't have an Azure subscription. Yet, all of our active directory connectors put our credentials into the Azure Active Directory. 

There are enough things that aren't implemented on our side and we are in the middle of this transition.  I don't blame the product necessarily for that. However, there are links and items within Microsoft 365 that still point back to the .com side.

Items seem to continue to move, such as security and compliance. Now there's a security portal and a compliance portal, and all three are still being maintained, however, one's being phased in and the others are being phased out. Things continue to change. It's just been a bit to learn. There's a lot to keep track of. There should be a bit more transparency.

The Office 365 subscriptions are a bit confusing with a hybrid environment with what credential has an Microsoft 365 subscription.  However, then some of the documentation I was reading this week was where I ran into a wall. This particular document clearly showed that when you have a particular ability on the Azure side, and then you have another ability on the Office side, intuitively the Microsoft cloud knows to give you certain other rights, to be able to do stuff. This settings and configurations are in different places. Some things are then in the Exchange Online, some things are in the Intune section, etc.

I am not sure if the intent is to have an Microsoft 365 administrator with a second subscription for a cloud admin account or not.  I was trying to do something in Exchange online and received a message that I couldn't do it because I didn't have a mailbox. It's frustrating and confusing at times. There are things like that just are a different user experience between on-prem and online.

The Microsoft Premier Agreement we have has been very beneficial and we have had an excellent experience with a couple of different short cycle projects.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been working with the solution for just over a year and I have been involved for the last five months. It's been under a year, and not very long just yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability seems to be there.  We are not a very big shop but we have unique needs and requirements.

How are customer service and technical support?

The premier services we have are very good. We have a contact that's been with Microsoft a while and that's really saved us. The reach back into field engineers and their amazing ability to get the job done have been hugely beneficial.  The Exchange Online engineer we had was worth double what we paid for. It was amazing. If it weren't for that, I am not sure if we would have made our schedule.  Often the timing hasn't lined up, with short notice compliance requirements and implementation constraints due to configuration or version of technology.  They are very responsive, but depending on if it's break fix or planning, the planning side as longer cycles.   

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't a part of the initial setup. I can't speak to how long the deployment took or how easy or difficult the process was.

What about the implementation team?

We had assistance with the setup. We're actually bringing in some more help as our needs have short turn cycles and some ageing infrastructure that we still have to move online.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I would say to make sure you have a trusted integration partner or someone on staff that has been through this transition.

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers. We don't have a business relationship with the company.

While we use the on-premises model, we also have it synced for hybrid functionality.

With COVID especially, there have been a lot of changes in a lot of companies and a lot of rethinking of processes lately.

We're in the process of rolling out Office 356 internally. We've had really great feedback that people really like Teams, and we want to move more into that area. We had a roadmap meeting with Microsoft a few months ago. It was probably five months ago, four or five months ago.

Some of the more accessible types of items were on the roadmap for the first quarter of this year. However, Microsoft's working hard at listening to customers, especially through the COVID situation that changed a lot of work and priorities. The collaboration stuff has changed. They've been pushing a little bit more on getting some more integrations. We're not going to have that kind of clout where I am, however, where I used to work, we would have. We were the ones that were making sure the Exchange got upgraded and got to the developers.

I would rate the solution at a six out of ten. If the solution offered better transparency/clarity I might rate it higher.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Azure Active Directory. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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Rohan Basu
IT Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Responsive and knowledgeable support, good documentation available online, and single sign-on integrates seamlessly

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the single sign-on, which allows any application that is SAML or OAuth compatible to use Azure as an identity provider for seamless sign-in."
  • "In a hybrid deployment, when we update a license by changing the UPN or email address of a user, it does not get updated automatically during normal sync. This means that we have to update it manually from Azure, which is something that needs to be corrected."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is Azure SSO. Then, it is a hybrid synchronization of users and computers, and also for SCIM provisioning.

How has it helped my organization?

Using this product has helped improve our security posture. I don't handle security directly, but I know that our security team was able to identify logs containing erratic behavior, such as logins that were not authentic. They were able to identify and solve those problems.

This solution has improved our end-user experience a lot because previously, users had to remember different passwords for different applications. Sometimes, the integration with on-premises AD was a little bit difficult over the firewall. However, with Azure, that integration has become seamless. The users are also happy with the additional security afforded by multifactor authentication.

One of the benefits that we get from this solution is the Azure hybrid join, where my presence of the domains is both on-premises and on the cloud. It has allowed us to manage the client machines from the cloud, as well as from the on-premises solution. We are currently building upon our cloud usage so that we can manage more from the Azure instance directly.

Our cloud presence is growing because most people are working from home, so the management of end-users and workstations is becoming a little challenging with the current on-premises system. Having cloud-based management helps us to manage end-users and workstations better. This is because, with an on-premises solution, you need a VPN connection to manage it. Not all users have a VPN but for a cloud-based solution, you just need the internet and almost everyone now has an internet connection.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the single sign-on, which allows any application that is SAML or OAuth compatible to use Azure as an identity provider for seamless sign-in.

I like the SCIM provisioning, where Azure is the single database and it can push to Google cloud, as well as Oracle cloud. This means that the user directory is synchronized across platforms, so if I am managing Azure AD then my other platforms are also managed.

What needs improvement?

In a hybrid deployment, when we update the UPN or email address of a user who has license assigned, it does not get updated automatically during normal sync. This means that we have to update it manually from Azure, which is something that needs to be corrected. Essentially, if it's a hybrid sync then it should happen automatically and we shouldn't have to do anything manually.

Azure AD DS allows only one instance in a particular tenant, which is something that could be improved. There are people that want to have AD DS on a per-subscription basis.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Active Directory for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Other than a few global outages, I have not seen any specific outages to the tenant that we use. In the typical case, we haven't faced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been good. For the infrastructure that we have developed, there were no issues. We have nothing in terms of abnormal outages or any abnormal spikes that we have observed. Overall, scalability-wise, we are happy with it.

We have thousands of users on the Azure platform. The entire organization is on Azure AD, and everyone has a different, specific role assigned to them. Some people are using the database, whereas somebody else is using other infrastructure service, and the same is true for all of the different features. We have different teams using different features and I am part of managing identities, which involves using Azure AD and its associated features.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support from Microsoft is very good. I would rate them a nine out of ten. They are responsive and very knowledgeable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to Azure AD, we used on-premises Active Directory.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not very complicated because there are very good articles online, published by Microsoft. They give detailed steps on the process and including what challenges you may face. In our setup, the articles online were sufficient but suppose you run into any issues, you simply reach out to Microsoft for support.

Taking the purchases, planning, and everything else into account, it took between three and four months to complete the deployment.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team was responsible for deployment. In a few cases, we reached out to Microsoft for support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not evaluated other options. The reason is that the integration between Azure AD and on-premises Active Directory is seamless and easy. Both solutions are by Microsoft.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing Azure AD is to consider the size of their environment. If it's a large on-premises environment then you should consider a hybrid model, but if it's a small environment then it's easy to move to the Azure cloud model directly. If it's a small environment then Azure AD is also available on a free license. This is how I would suggest you start looking at having a cloud presence.

Azure AD is easy to integrate and manage, and it will reduce your capital cost a lot.

In summary, this is a good product but there is always scope for improvement.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Chandra Guddati
IT specialist at BMO Financial Group
Real User
Top 20
Supports multifactor authentication, scales well, good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "It offers features that improve our security posture such as multifactor authentication, which is the second layer of protection that is used when we log into the cloud."
  • "The documentation, and the way that people are notified of updates, are things that can be improved. I'm a big fan of Microsoft products but the way they document is not that great."

What is our primary use case?

Azure Active Directory is similar to an on-premises access control system, but the service and data are hosted in the Azure cloud. Previously, everyone used to have Windows servers built as domain controllers for Active Directory to store their employee data. This assumed the role of a database for their employees.

With Azure Active Directory, which is in the cloud, you have the same functionality and there isn't much of a difference. The defining point is that you have access to online, cloud-based resources, such as Office 365.

In my company, as well as others, we had already implemented the on-premises Active Directory for our infrastructure. We leverage Azure Active Directory to synchronize the existing on-premises details to the cloud so that it creates an identity in Azure, which allows it to be used for other SaaS-based solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

This is the kind of solution that I feel you cannot run an organization without using.

Going forward, I expect that this solution will help to eliminate our on-premises infrastructure. Perhaps in the next few years, many companies will question their need for on-premises infrastructure and implement a purely cloud-based position. It will be a pay-as-you-go service.

Using this solution has affected our end-user experience because it enables and supports the Office 365 products that Azure provides. It is indirectly linked to all of the Office 365 solutions.

What is most valuable?

This is a feature-rich solution.

It offers features that improve our security posture such as multifactor authentication, which is the second layer of protection that is used when we log into the cloud.

What needs improvement?

The documentation, and the way that people are notified of updates, are things that can be improved. I'm a big fan of Microsoft products but the way they document is not that great.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Active Directory for the past four years.

This solution was implemented approximately five years ago, before I joined the company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We use this product on a daily basis. In fact, it is constantly being used and we don't have any problems with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good, and it is one of the reasons that we opted for a cloud solution.

We have more than 60,000 employees in the company and it scales very nicely. If more employees join the company then our usage will increase.

There are a variety of roles including administrators and different users. We have between 200 and 300 administrators.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support from Microsoft is excellent.

We have had multiple issues where technical support has been needed. For example, the other day, we had a problem with synchronization. One of the user licenses was not synchronized properly and when we identified the root cause, it showed that the profile was not linked to the Active Directory Account. That was the main problem.

For us, it's constant improvement. Once a problem has been resolved, we document it accordingly so that it doesn't reoccur. Essentially, we don't want to have the same story again.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also have Active Directory implemented on-premises, and it synchronizes with our cloud solution. The traditional Active Directory is what we used before this.

How was the initial setup?

I was not responsible for the initial setup but my feeling is that it is not very straightforward. From a technical perspective, I expect that it is somewhat complex.

The deployment took approximately six weeks. We are a large company with more than 60,000 employees and I expect that for a smaller company, with perhaps 100 or 200 employees, it might take a day or two to complete.

What about the implementation team?

One of the senior engineers in my organization was responsible for deployment. We also had assistance from Microsoft consultants. Between five and ten people were required for the deployment because it's a larger company.

There is no maintenance that needs to be done on our part. However, we have between 10 and 15 people who closely work on Azure Active Directory. 

What was our ROI?

Everyone uses a cloud solution to reduce the on-premises infrastructure cost and maintenance. In the coming years, there will be a lot of returns or a lot of cost-cutting that will happen.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing is good and it is really easy to manage. We make sure that we only enable the licenses that are needed for the users, rather than enabling licenses in a blanket fashion. Basically, we only enable the features that are required for each of the users.

There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

What other advice do I have?

Microsoft is a vendor that is always one step ahead.

The biggest lesson that I have learned is to read the documentation properly and thoroughly. Microsoft is great, but the documentation is sometimes updated and we aren't notified. This means that anytime you apply any solution, just make sure that you follow the proper guidance and always test before deployment.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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DanielNdiba
Technology Security Specialist at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Offers good security features for controlling access to your resources, and easily integrates with Microsoft solutions and on-premise resources

Pros and Cons

  • "It can be used to grant access at a granular level. It provides secure access and many ways to offer security to your user resources. It provides a good level of security for any access on Azure. It gives you options like multi-factor authentication where apart from your password, you can use other factors for authentication, such as a code is sent to your phone or the authenticator app that you can use login."
  • "Its integration with open-source applications can be improved. I know that they are working on open-source authentication methods for integration with open-source applications, but they can make it more open."

What is our primary use case?

There are a number of use cases. You can use it as a central point of authentication for giving access to most of your cloud and on-prem resources. For example, you can use Azure AD to give access to a Microsoft 365 application, such as Outlook or Microsoft Teams.

What is most valuable?

It is quite stable. Being a Microsoft product, it easily integrates with most of the Microsoft solutions. It is very easy to integrate with most of the Microsoft solutions, such as Windows, Microsoft Office, etc. If you have your own internal web applications or you want to integrate with other solutions from other providers, such as AWS or Google, you can link those to Azure AD. If you want to integrate with on-prem resources, you can use your Azure AD on the cloud as the authentication point to give people access to the resources and so on.

It can be used to grant access at a granular level. It provides secure access and many ways to offer security to your user resources. It provides a good level of security for any access on Azure. It gives you options like multi-factor authentication where apart from your password, you can use other factors for authentication, such as a code is sent to your phone or the authenticator app that you can use login. 

It even offers the next level of access management, which gives a password for authentication, and you just use the authenticator app to log in. It enables you to configure things like identity risk awareness to detect if someone logs in from a suspicious location from where they don't normally log in. So, it provides a good level of security features for controlling access to your resources.

What needs improvement?

Its integration with open-source applications can be improved. I know that they are working on open-source authentication methods for integration with open-source applications, but they can make it more open.

It can be a bit expensive for an organization. There should be a better pricing plan for the license.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. In my current organization, we have about 6,000 users on Azure Active Directory.

How are customer service and support?

We are satisfied with their support. They provide different levels of support. They have Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 engineers, and the response time depends on the kind of agreement you have. Some agreements will guarantee you a faster response time 24/7, such as within four hours, so it all depends on your license.

How was the initial setup?

Considering that it runs on the cloud, the setup is quite easy unless you're doing integration with your on-prem Active Directory. For integration with your on-prem Active Directory, you need someone who is technically competent, and then it would be rather straightforward. They do provide engineers who can assist in that deployment, and they also do knowledge transfer to enable you to proceed with the deployment.

The initial deployment of the product usually takes about three months because you have to ensure all the prerequisites have been met. So, if it is a project for a big organization, we can do it in probably three months. If it is something simple, then it doesn't take much time because the only thing that you're doing is to plug into it. It is already running because it is a cloud service. So, the deployment comes in only if you're integrating it with your on-prem resources and, of course, with other applications. Otherwise, it is very straightforward. It is a cloud service, so it is just plug-and-play.

What about the implementation team?

For deployment, we work with Microsoft. We work with them directly, but for enhancements, we use Microsoft partners.

For maintenance, we have a team of about five engineers who run it. Internally, we have about two engineers and a manager in charge, and then we have two engineers in our infrastructure team. It is not that intensive in terms of day-to-day management because it is a cloud service, so everything is running from Microsoft Azure servers. Therefore, the day-to-day administration is not that much.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It can be a bit expensive for organizations, but they do have different pricing models. Their free tier can be used on a personal level, but for an organization, the licenses might be a bit expensive. In general, the licenses can become cheaper, which will make it accessible for more people.

Currently, where I am working, we use an enterprise agreement. The license is renewed after every two or three years. So, we make an agreement with Microsoft to give us a license for a number of products, including Azure Active Directory, for two or three years.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend this solution. We plan to keep using it for the long term.

It is among the best in the industry, but there is room for improvement. I would rate it an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MR
Principal Security Architect at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Centralizes usernames and credentials, perfectly stable, and good support

Pros and Cons

  • "It certainly centralizes usernames, and it certainly centralizes credentials. Companies have different tolerances for synchronizing those credentials versus redirecting to on-prem. The use case of maturing into the cloud helps from a SaaS adoption standpoint, and it also tends to be the jumping-off point for larger organizations to start doing PaaS and infrastructure as a service. So, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service kind of dovetail off the Active Directory synchronization piece and the email and SharePoint. It becomes a natural step for people, who wouldn't normally do infrastructure as a service, because they're already exposed to this, and they have already set up their email and SharePoint there. All of the components are there."
  • "Its area of improvement is more about the synchronization of accounts and the intervals for that. Sometimes, there're customers with other network challenges, and it takes a while for synchronization to happen to the cloud. There is some component of their on-prem that is delaying things getting to the cloud. The turnaround time for these requests is very time-sensitive. I don't mean this as derogatory for this service, but in my experience, that happens a lot."

What is our primary use case?

Usually, it is replicating an on-prem Active Directory environment into Azure. It is usually tied with generic email access and SharePoint Online access and building out provisioning for that. There typically is some sort of synchronization tool that is sometimes used in addition to or as a substitute for the typical Microsoft suite. So, it just depends upon the customers and how they're getting that information up there.

In terms of version, it tends to be a mixed bag. It just depends on the client environment and factors such as the maturity and the rigors of change management. Sometimes, it just lags, and we've dealt with those types of situations, but more often than not, it is more of a greener field Azure environment and tends to be the latest and greatest.

What is most valuable?

It certainly centralizes usernames, and it certainly centralizes credentials. Companies have different tolerances for synchronizing those credentials versus redirecting to on-prem. The use case of maturing into the cloud helps from a SaaS adoption standpoint, and it also tends to be the jumping-off point for larger organizations to start doing PaaS and infrastructure as a service. So, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service kind of dovetail off the Active Directory synchronization piece and the email and SharePoint. It becomes a natural step for people, who wouldn't normally do infrastructure as a service, because they're already exposed to this, and they have already set up their email and SharePoint there. All of the components are there.

What needs improvement?

Its area of improvement is more about the synchronization of accounts and the intervals for that. Sometimes, there're customers with other network challenges, and it takes a while for synchronization to happen to the cloud. There is some component of their on-prem that is delaying things getting to the cloud. The turnaround time for these requests is very time-sensitive. I don't mean this as derogatory for this service, but in my experience, that happens a lot. 

For the Active Directory component, there are some value differences and things like that as compared to on-prem. I have run into problems a few times when there is a custom schema involved with their on-prem installation. You can use it, but that custom schema or functionality is going to have to go somewhere else or rerouted back to on-prem.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for probably two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is perfectly stable. I haven't had any concerns or any problems with that.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have dealt with them. Overall, tech support is great if you have something that was working but it's broken and needs to get fixed. It is a different bucket if you have more of an implementation question like, "Hey, can we do this?", or "How to approach that?" Sometimes, it can be challenging to get the right people on that call to support those conversations.

How was the initial setup?

Its initial setup really depends on the customer. I have one customer right now with a super simple environment. They're just replicating it up. It's all Microsoft stack top to bottom with no real surprises or anything else. They're happy as pie with that. 

I have larger customers who tend to want some sort of management layer on top of it for Active Directory management purposes. This tends to go into the cloud, which introduces its own little challenges. In a more sophisticated enterprise, I start running into custom schema or workflow dependencies that just don't translate well from on-prem to cloud, but it is rare. It usually ends up being a third-party solution that we route them to with that. So, it's not huge. The challenge is more in identifying that. Typically, as much as we try, we rarely get it identified early enough to change our statement of work or our implementation, so it becomes a bad surprise.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Its price is per user. It is also based on the type of user that you're synchronizing up there.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise spending more time on planning and aligning your business processes with Active Directory and Azure in terms of custom schema and separating third-party accounts, external accounts, or customer's accounts from employee accounts. I've run into issues when people take an existing on-prem solution that has third-party entities or maybe external customers and start synchronizing it up. It is not a slam against the service, but that's where I start recommending people to do different instances of Azure Tenants to break that up a little bit and provide that separation. All of these are planning functions. Using this service can be deceptively easy, but you should spend more time on planning. Around 80% of it is planning, and the rest of it is the implementation.

I would rate Azure Active Directory an eight out of 10. It is super solid. I wouldn't say it's the best. I would love to have everything that you could do on-prem. I understand why it can't do that, but I would love that flexibility.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Implementer
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Joseph Chandrasekaram
Identity Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Robust identity platform, reasonably priced, and has responsive support

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features of this solution are security, the conditional access feature, and multifactor authentication."
  • "The management interface has some areas that need improvement."

What is our primary use case?

I use this solution as an identity platform for Microsoft Applications including Office 365. We have found that users have third-party applications for authentication using an integrated identity infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are security, the conditional access feature, and multifactor authentication.

The conditional access policies allow us to restrict logins based on security parameters. It helps us to reduce attacks for a more secure environment.

Multifactor authentication is for a more secure way of authenticating our use.

All our on-premises identities are synchronized to Azure Active Directory. We have an advanced license that enables conditional access based on logins, and suspicious behaviors. 

Active Directory is able to determine if a particular user signing in from a trusted IP or if there are two different sign-ins from two different locations. It will flag this latter incident as a potential compromise of a user's account. 

In terms of security, it provides us with the features to alert us if there are any fraudulent attempts from a user identity perspective.

It provides access to our Azure infrastructure and allows us to assign roles and specific aspects to different subscriptions. It has several built-in roles that you can assign to individual users based on their job scope. It allows for granular provisioning.

With onboarding applications, you are able to register applications in Azure Active Directory, which allows you to use it as a portal for access as well.

Azure Active Directory enhances the user experience because they do not have various IDs for different applications. They are using one single on-premises ID to synchronize and they are able to access various different applications that are presented to them.

If you have a new application, you will export the application within Azure AD and we add access to those who need that application and you are able to use the corporate ID and password to access it.

Azure Active Directory is a good platform for us. We rely heavily on providing our users a good system and interface that we seldom have issues with.

What needs improvement?

The management interface has some areas that need improvement. It doesn't give you an overview similar to a dashboard view for Azure Active Directory. The view can be complicated. There are many different tabs and you have to drill down into each individual area to find additional information.

There are too many features available, more than we can use.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Active Directory for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's quite stable. There are no issues with the stability.

The identity platform is quite robust.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. We have deployed it globally for approximately 10,000 users and experienced not many issues. In fact, we have not encountered any issues so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

Generally, we don't have issues that require technical support. We have multiple domains within the Azure AD and we had an issue where SharePoint users were not able to access the domain.

We had a prompt response and were able to identify what the issue was. We were given specific tasks which led to resolving the issue.

I would rate the technical support a nine out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, we did not use another solution. Primarily it was an on-premises Active Directory that we synchronized to the cloud.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was completed by a separate team.

We have five global administrators who are primarily responsible for providing access and assigning roles for all the various different groups and teams that have different subscriptions, and they will manage their subscriptions based on the roles that they are assigned.

In terms of deployment, Active Directory ensures that there is express route connectivity from an on-premises data center to Azure and ensures that there are sufficient redundancies in Azure Active Directory Connect Servers and Domain Controllers. 

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on our investment. I would say that it is one of the key components of our identity solution

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is very flexible. There are a few tiers of licensing, and it is a part of an enterprise contract.

It is bundled with other services and the pricing is quite reasonable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

I would strongly recommend implementing Azure Active Directory.

For new organizations, it would be best to start implementing directly on the cloud, and for our existing organizations who have on-premises solutions, it would be seamless to synchronize the on-premises user with the cloud and use that. 

I would rate Azure Active Directory a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Solution architect at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
User-friendly with good pricing and easily customizable

Pros and Cons

  • "The single sign-on of the solution is the most valuable aspect."
  • "We would like to have more granularity in the Azure conditional access in order to be able to manage more groups for devices and for applications."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution only for the employees. It offers a single sign-on to business applications. Internal modern applications also go through Azure Active Directory, however, we use Active Directory for the legacy ones. (Kerberos).

How has it helped my organization?

It takes a couple hours to add SSO to new business SaaS. The Azure AD Marketplace has all the applications we bought so far as built-in templates.

What is most valuable?

The single sign-on of the solution is the most valuable aspect.

The initial setup is straightforward.

The solution offers good bundles that include Office 365. 

The pricing is pretty decent.

The product is pretty user-friendly and offers good customization capabilities.

What needs improvement?

We find that most of the new features are in preview for too long. It gives you the announcement that there's a new feature and yet, most of the time, it takes more than one year to have it generally available. Often we have to go and sometimes just use a preview without support. 

We cannot run all the configurations from the APIs. I would like to have something that has code and to just be able to back up and apply my configuration. Right now, we are managing more Azure tenants. It's hard to keep all of those configurations at the same level, the same value.

We would like to have more granularity in the Azure conditional access in order to be able to manage more groups for applications. That way, when adding a new applications I don't have multiple conditional access to modify. 

One of the main requests from our security team is the MFA challenge. Azure, by default, is more user-friendly. We have a lot of debates with the security team here as the MFA doesn't pop up often enough for them. From an end-user perspective, it's a better user experience, as users generally prefer fewer pop-ups, however, security doesn't like it. It's hard for security to add. 

We don't have Azure Premium P2 yet, however, most of the advanced security features are in the P2, and it costs a lot more money.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for four years at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is relatively stable. The only issue we have is that there's a lot of things on Azure that are synchronous. Sometimes it takes time for changes to apply, and it kind of depends on the time of the day. A lot of the time we're happy with it, however, sometimes it creates a bizarre issue that is difficult to troubleshoot.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. If an organization needs to expand it out, they can do so rather easily.

We have about 9,000 people in our organization using the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

While the technical support is good, you need premium support. The standard support is more for small enterprises. We have the premium support and with the premium support, it's much better. There's a direct line to the correct type of support. It's very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used SiteMinder from Computer Associates. The main reason we migrated to Azure was for the integration with Office 365. It then became our primary authentication source for the employees.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not too complex. It's pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We didn't need the assistance of an integrator, reseller or consultant for deployment. We were able to handle everything in-house.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is really great and Office 365 packages are good. We don't pay for it separately. It's included in our package and the APIs are really great. I'm not sure of the exact cost of Azure. It's a package deal.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've looked into Okta for B2B and B2C clients, not necessarily for our internal employees.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer.

We're using the latest version of the solution.

I would recommend the solution for employees. It's a really great tool. However, we tried it also for consumers, for clients for B2B and B2C. For me, it isn't really a great production product. We researched Okta for that.

Overall, I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.