Is Azure® AD a good option for Managed Service Providers (MSPs)? There is nothing stopping MSPs from using Azure Active Directory® (AD) for their clients, but it is not really tailored to their needs. Adding confusion, MSPs are often unsure of whether Azure AD is a replacement to on-prem Active Directory and if it can provide them with a viable cloud identity management platform for their clients. With those questions in mind, continue reading to find out if Azure AD is something that MSPs can utilize to help streamline their clients’ operations.
What is Azure AD?
Azure AD is a user management platform for Azure (Microsoft®’s Infrastructure-as a-Service platform), as well as a web application single sign-on (SSO) solution. According a Microsoft brand representative in this Spiceworks thread, Azure AD is a complement to Active Directory®, instead of a standalone directory service:
“Azure Active Directory is not designed to be the cloud version of Active Directory. It is not a domain controller or a directory in the cloud that will provide the exact same capabilities with AD.”
Without conventional AD, Azure AD doesn’t really manage on-prem systems or resources, with the exception of Windows 10. Macs, Linux, and other versions of Windows are largely outside of Azure’s purview. So, for MSPs looking to replace their on-prem Active Directory instances at all of their clients’ organizations, it’s tough to make Azure AD fit the bill.
Azure’s limitations don’t end with system and endpoint management. Many cloud-based, non-Windows resources pose challenges for Azure, including: G Suite™, AWS®, Mac®, Linux®, LDAP-authenticating applications like Jira®, and OpenVPN™.
Finally, if IT admins want to bolster their WiFi security with RADIUS, Azure AD offers no way of doing so. So, Azure alone is a tough sell for MSPs who are looking for cloud IAM that can handle all the the resources their client’s want to utilize, whether they’re on-prem, in the cloud, Windows-based, or not.
What do MSPs Want?
For one, MSPs want to sleep at night – and that (Read more…)