What is Azure Active Directory

Azure AD
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Azure Active Directory or Azure AD is Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management service, which helps organization employees sign in and access resources in:

External resources, such as Microsoft Office 365, the Azure portal, and thousands of other SaaS applications.

Internal resources, such as apps on your corporate network and intranet, along with any cloud apps developed by your own organization.

What are the differences between Azure AD and Active Directory Domain Services

Azure Active Directory is the next evolution of identity and access management solutions for the cloud.

Beginning with Windows 2000 Microsoft introduced ADDS Active Directory Domain Services that supported organizations’ ability to manage multiple on-premises infrastructure components and systems using a single identity per user.

However, Azure AD takes this approach to the next level by providing organizations with an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) solution for all their apps across cloud and on-premises.

So this means there are enhancements and advantages to each role found in Azure AD and Active Directory.


  • Provisioning: users
  • Provisioning: external identities
  • Admin management
  • Credential management


  • Infrastructure apps
  • Traditional and legacy apps
  • SaaS apps
  • Line of business (LOB) apps with modern authentication
  • Mid-tier/Daemon services


  • Mobile
  • Windows desktops
  • Windows servers
  • Linux/Unix workloads

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