Azure Active Directory Overview

Azure Active Directory is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Single Sign-On (SSO) tools. It is most often compared to Okta Workforce Identity: Azure Active Directory vs Okta Workforce Identity

What is Azure Active Directory?

The Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) enterprise identity service provides single sign-on and multi-factor authentication to help protect your users from 99.9 percent of cybersecurity attacks. With Azure Active Directory, you get:

- Single sign-on enabling access to your apps from anywhere

- Conditional Access and multi-factor authentication to help protect and govern access

- A single identity platform to engage with internal and external users more securely

- Developer tools to easily integrate identity into your apps and services 

To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Azure Active Directory Community.

Azure Active Directory Buyer's Guide

Download the Azure Active Directory Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

Azure Active Directory Customers

Azure Active Directory is trusted by companies of all sizes and industries including Walmart, Zscaler, Uniper, Amtrak, monday.com, and more.

Azure Active Directory Video

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Jean-Francois Richard
Enterprise Security Architect at Energir
Real User
Improved user experience with SSO logins but requires role-based access controls

What is our primary use case?

Office 365 authentication SSO for ServiceNow SSO for other cloud applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Improved user experience with SSO logins.

What is most valuable?

Keeping the same credentials as Active Directory.

What needs improvement?

Role-based access controls.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Edgar Parra
Senior Technical Consultant at The Instillery
Real User
Configuring the domain and setting it up in the Azure portal is as easy as three clicks. Tech support is awesome but can have its pitfalls

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is actually one interesting one because this customer we're deploying, They don't have Active Directory on-premise, and they need to use some applications that are on-prem, so in order to get authentication to work with those applications we had to come up with a workaround. So it was challenging to come up with that workaround and solution, but it worked quite well. Azure Ad provides great flexibility even when nothing on-prem can provide user authentication. For cases like this, Microsoft and Citrix worked together to develop a solution that not only work with Azure AD… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "When logging on to Azure AD it's pretty quick."
  • "Configuring the domain and setting it up in the Azure portal is just three clicks to be honest."
  • "At first, it was a bit challenging to come up with a workaround that would get authentication to work."

What other advice do I have?

I don't know if it's something that's going to be addressed in the future, or not, but having Azure AD the boundary of action for Active Directory as a region when you define the domain so you can't extend the domain to another region because it's a limitation that Azure AD has that doesn't allow you to extend the domain to another region for say geolocation purposes or disaster recovery. If you have your Azure AD on the Sydney data center, you're not going to be able to extend that to say, Singapore. But, it is not highly unlikely, but it's a very rare occasion that you lose a region or a…
Learn what your peers think about Azure Active Directory. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
511,607 professionals have used our research since 2012.
ITCS user
Cloud Consultant at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
Consultant
The most beneficial feature would be the effectiveness of having a hybrid set-up. The tech support is inconsistent.

What is our primary use case?

We need it for running MSA protection for most of the users. We need Azure AD Connect because they are highly on primary setup, so they need to sync on primary with Azure AD.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most beneficial feature would be the effectiveness of having a hybrid set-up."
  • "Initially, we wanted to exclude specific users from MSA. So, we had a condition policy, which forces MSA for all the users. So we wanted to exclude users who are using an NPS extension. So it was not listed, as a NPS extension was not listed outside an application, in actual, so, we go back and were not able to exclude users using NPS extension from MSA. So that was one limitation that we found and we had to work around that."
  • "Tech support is inconsistent."

What other advice do I have?

If you have connections with a PSP partner, it will be easy, I guess. If you're buying an Azure AD Premium independently, you won't have a helping hand from them. You'll have support but, not much other than that. With a PSP partner, you will feel like that you can implement or you can quadrate. Once Azure is developed, and fully established, it will be a perfect product. It is still in the development stage at present.
it_user623721
Consultant with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The ability to speed up delivery is an asset. To look at more documentation, engineering, or an open standard would be nice.

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is collaboration. So it's all about federation of identity and permissions. Identity is one of those things that you need to be separate from your actual tenant. There's a benefit for it being separated from your actual tenant for reasons of security and containerization. It's very easy to run and it's part of their ecosystem and I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon.

Pros and Cons

  • "It's very easy to run and it's part of their ecosystem and I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon."
  • "The ability to speed up ability is an asset."
  • "To look at more documentation, engineering, or an open standard would be nice."
  • "Microsoft has so many different requirements and priorities that sometimes they don't invest all their energy into the products that you have expectations to investigate."

What other advice do I have?

Last year Microsoft had said that the onsite Active Directory ,as we know it, is going to be deprecated. So that means group policy, that means security groups, the NTLM and all that we've relied on for so long is going to come to an end with this modern management philosophy. That's why I did those group policy changes. From group policy, which is essentially the ability to control the operating environments of managed devices, rather than that, Microsoft wants only a mobile device management policy. So it's pretty much a HTTPS or SSL assertion to manage devices off the domain, and they will…
Ken Meyer
Senior Consultant - Owner with 1-10 employees
Consultant
It's just a product that made life simpler for my clients to be able to integrate everything.

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is single sign-on, and if a company is going to use Azure AD, a lot of what they are looking for is to manage those sign-ins and logins and have a single place for it to be.

Pros and Cons

  • "The self-password reset if it's enabled and configured properly, really helps a company be able to reset rather than getting IT involved."
  • "Just because I've been in the Azure space since it started out and in the Microsoft Cloud AD since the BPOS days in the early 2000s, and it's just a product that made life simpler for my clients to be able to integrate everything."
  • "Documentation I think is always the worst part with what Azure's doing right now across the board."

What other advice do I have?

The biggest piece of advice is if you're planning for all applications that need authentication, and making sure that all applications that need authentication or that you're going against, that you're using the premium parts of Active Directory for, are compliant with the solution and not finding out afterwards.
Rajeev Jha
Database Manager at Wartsila India Ltd
Real User
It is a helpful solution for employees working from home. We also like that it is on the cloud.

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is for our business directory, we have integrated everything into Azure into the Active Directory.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is a really nice tool and we have a license for the more complex model."
  • "I like the way it communicates to the cloud."
  • "Whatever business requirements we needed in the past three years, users were created, with the name of the user and they were not connected with the Active Directory. We were trying to in house in three years and with directory, but we were not able to achieve it."
  • "Be aware that it may not work perfectly globally yet. There are still glitches with the solution in Africa."

What other advice do I have?

Be aware that it may not work perfectly globally yet. There are still glitches with the solution in Africa.
ES
Senior Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
In terms of security, we have been using the B2B/B2C hybrid integration with the certificate authentication.

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use this solution for hybrid deployment, security, securing resources and for integration purposes. In terms of security, we have been using the B2B/B2C hybrid integration with the certificate authentication.

Pros and Cons

  • "We have not had any formal issues with scalability."
  • "It is pretty good in terms of stability."
  • "I primarily use this solution for hybrid deployment, security, securing resources and for integration purposes. In terms of security, we have been using the B2B/B2C hybrid integration with the certificate authentication."
  • "There are issues using it with ADFS."

What other advice do I have?

When implementing for one client, where they had ADFS turned on, we could not ID enough ADFS and when there was no internet connection. This was a Catch-22 for us, and very frustrating. I would advise new users to use Azure over the ADFS.
John ONeill
Principle consultant at Active Data Consulting Services Pty Ltd
Real User
Top 20
The centralized management feature is very valuable. We do not have to deploy lots of machines to run things as a service.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to simplify directory deployment and centralize source of management. Within our own consulting business, we choose to use Azure AD.

Pros and Cons

  • "The centralized management feature is very valuable."
  • "We do not have to deploy lots of machines all over the place to run things as a service, which is how we like to deploy things, just as a service."
  • "https://www.itcentralstation.com/product_reviews/microsoft-bi-review-52460-by-amanda-zhou"
  • "A nice feature that is not currently present, would be if they had some visualization tools."

What other advice do I have?

It is easy to use, straightforward, and in my language. It does exactly what is says, and does not pretend to be anything else.
Jaydeep Mehta
Senior Analyst - IT Development at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
It is a very straightforward implementation. It helps us with maintaining enterprise identities.

What is our primary use case?

It's a very good solution. You can manage your entity's enterprise identity using Azure Active Directory, and again, you can do several administrative activities. You can also use your Power Shares sorting and interfacing the endpoint.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is a very straightforward implementation."
  • "It helps us with maintaining enterprise identities."
  • "The licensing cost is a bit prohibitive."
Jaime-Sanchez
Director General
Real User
Top 20
The most important feature is the factor identification.

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use this solution for tracking authentication.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the factor identification. I find that it is natural integration, and it is just a natural step. I do not need to do anything else."
  • "I think there is room for improvement with actually discussing, and advertising Microsoft as a an authenticator. Many people just get confused and use Google, and I think if Microsoft would make more of an effort to penetrate the market, that would be key."

What other advice do I have?

I like it, I love it and it works fine.