What is Azure AD?

Azure AD (Active Directory) is Microsoft’s multi-tenant, cloud-based Identity as a Service (IDaaS) solution.

It provides organizations of all sizes an affordable and easy to use means of enabling Single Sign-On (SSO) to thousands of first and third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) applications like Office 365, Salesforce.com, ServiceNow, Concur and others. For organizations building their own applications, Azure AD can be easily integrated providing a world-class identity solution.

In addition to SSO, Azure AD has enhanced capabilities for robust identity management and security, such as multi-factor authentication, self-service password reset, privileged identity management, role based access control, application usage monitoring, auditing and security monitoring and alerting.

Microsoft’s on-premises Active Directory, has been around for a lot longer than Azure AD and many organizations implemented Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) for authentication and authorization on-premises. With the release of Azure and Azure AD, many organizations want to take advantage of the capacity and capabilities and reduced costs of cloud computing, and to utilize cloud authentication and authorization (with all its advantages such as built-in SSO, MFA and PIM). Microsoft released Dir Sync, later replaced by Azure AD Connect, to allow organizations to synchronize their on-premises and cloud identities, greatly facilitating  the use of both realms (for users and admins) in a typical hybrid set-up. When it is possible for all legacy systems to be migrated to the cloud (or simply sunsetted), many organizations may dispense with their on-premises estate altogether.

Want to learn about Azure AD?

Our highly practical 4-day training course provides comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the essential Azure AD identity and application security features. You’ll learn to build and implement a strong identity and application access solution in Azure with Zero Trust at its heart.


R driven provisioning solution for AD trainingLearn how to build an HR driven provisioning solution for your Active Directory and Azure Active Directory with our practical video training.



We can help you on your journey to the Azure cloud! We’ve done it countless times for hundreds of organizations. You only do it once, so do it right.

Last reviewed December 2021