What is the purpose of Azure Active Directory?


Most organizations will use Windows devices as their backbone for work. While management is most likely already familiar with Azure AD as it is an essential service tool, it is equally as likely that you have never heard of it before, or at least you may be unaware of what the functions and role of Azure are, read on to find out more.

The main purpose of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is to be used as a database by businesses to keep track of user information, access privileges, and stock of devices. Businesses can make policies in Azure AD to set rules for their users and track sign-ins and what they are accessing.

This article will cover the basics of Azure AD, what it does, why we use it, and who can make the most out of it. This guide will cover the difference between Azure AD and Active Directory. Despite being a Microsoft service, both Windows and Mac can use Azure in a browser.

Content List – What this article will cover

What is Azure AD, and Why do we use it?

To start with, Azure Active Directory or “Azure AD” is a tool created by Microsoft primarily based in the cloud; it functions as a service primarily for admins that lets you manage access between people and software. It has become one of the more critically used services that Windows has access to ever since its predecessor “Active Directory,” released in 2000. Azure AD is a similar but different version of regular AD, allowing staff access to internal and external resources that they wouldn’t be able to without AD. Internal resources, for example, include things on the intranet or local area network— this can include any apps your company makes your devices mandatory and any cloud-based apps your organization creates.

Active Directory functions differently from Azure AD in a few ways and is not necessarily a replacement. One example of this is Active Directory, which is suitable for managing “on-site” apps and software and allows its users to access any resource they need for the job on their devices. In contrast, Azure is better for anything involving the cloud and controlling user access to software and accounts. The way that apps are “managed” is by allowing users to configure different sign-in requirements around specific apps; for example, you can allow “Single Sign Ons” (SSO) for some apps or multi-factor authentication for others.

Both Azure AD and Active Directory act as a database containing users’ information, such as their login credentials, i.e., username and passwords; you can also find user details in Microsoft 365 admin center. While they cover different fields, both will show a database with a list of people and monitored equipment, for instance, how many devices are inputted into the system. It also showcases the users and their privileges, including their access to specific software and sites. Depending on the size of the business or organization, this list could contain tens or hundreds of people, each with its list of details and access limits.

Azure AD is a service tool that will affect most of the content, and the software you will use as an admin will set access limits for individuals. Azure does this by checking your credentials are what is on the database and if you have