Because of the mechanics of their breathing, some (but not all) sharks must keep swimming at all times or suffer oxygen deprivation, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. If they stop moving, they’ll die. In that way, being a shark can be similar to leading a business. As the recent emphasis on digital transformation and the adoption of new technologies like the cloud illustrates, continuing to progress – particularly in the realm of IT – is vital for companies that want to stay competitive in the digital era.
Last month, I wrote about one way many of our clients have been maintaining that forward momentum and transforming their operations: They’re going serverless by leveraging SharePoint and OneDrive for cloud-based file storage and sharing. This not only makes it easier for remote workers to stay productive but also helps businesses get more out of their Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscriptions.
If you’ve already successfully moved shared and personal files to SharePoint and OneDrive, however, you might be wondering what’s next for your business. When our clients reach this point, we recommend deploying Azure Active Directory (AD) and taking additional steps to secure your Microsoft 365 environment as your next move.
What Is Azure Active Directory?
Azure AD is a cloud-based platform that’s included with some Microsoft 365 subscriptions and is also available for purchase as an add-on. We can review your licensing and assist you in determining the best choice for your business. In a nutshell, the solution helps organizations with access and identity management to ensure end users can securely log in to both external (e.g., the Azure portal, Microsoft 365 and other Software as a Service apps) and internal resources (such as your company’s network), according to Microsoft.
IT administrators can leverage Azure AD to create and manage groups as well as individual end user accounts, set conditional access policies and implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) to minimize data breach risk and significantly improve their cybersecurity posture. The platform’s capabilities can include the following:
- Cloud and on-premises app management via single sign-on (SSO), Application Proxy, the My Apps portal, and SaaS apps
- Authentication (MFA)
- Management of cloud and on-prem devices and how they access proprietary data
- Identity governance via business partner, employee, app, vendor and service access controls
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and the features you have access to will vary depending on your specific Azure AD license. Contact our team for guidance in selecting the license that makes the most sense for you.
Advantages of Azure AD for Your Business
Businesses turn to Azure AD for security and access management for numerous reasons. Particularly if you already leverage Microsoft 365 or Office 365, it makes sense to get as much as possible out of your subscription by utilizing this platform. These are some of the reasons to implement Azure AD, as detailed by Microsoft.
- Integration with other directories: With Azure AD Connect, you can integrate your on-prem Active Directory.
- SSO for multiple apps: You can streamline secure access to necessary resources for your team.
- Built-in integrations: Azure AD comes pre-integrated with Salesforce and Microsoft 365, among other business apps.
- Granular conditional access policies: You can configure policies according to factors like location, device state, and user risk level, among others.
Ultimately, with IT security threats continuing to emerge and remote work arrangements presenting new points of vulnerability, it makes sense for Microsoft clients to do everything they can to safeguard their data. Deploying Azure AD helps you efficiently manage end user identities and maintain secure access across all your vital apps and resources.
The Importance of Supplemental Security Measures for Microsoft 365
While Microsoft 365 comes with built-in security features, it can only do so much to fend off increasingly sophisticated threats. To avoid costly and reputation-damaging incidents, we recommend that our clients utilize a multi-layered approach involving advanced cybersecurity solutions, such as the following:
- Regular security assessments
- Network and endpoint managed detection and response (MDR)
Our consultants can also work with you to create an overall IT road map to position your company for success long-term and determine how technology can support your organizational objectives.
For more information about Azure AD, Microsoft 365 and the other solutions and services mentioned in this article, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 877-599-3999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.