Names, often the first point of interaction, play a crucial role in setting expectations and understanding the crux of a product. Recognizing this, Microsoft announced a significant shift for one of its cornerstone services. As of October, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), known and utilized by organizations worldwide, has officially transitioned to its new identity as Microsoft Entra ID.
Why the Change from Azure AD to Microsoft Entra ID?
Microsoft’s shift from Azure Active Directory® to Microsoft Entra ID® highlights its commitment to adaptability in a world where businesses use multiple cloud services and platforms. The new name, Microsoft Entra ID, clarifies that this tool is designed for easy identity management across different systems and platforms.
Additionally, the term “Active Directory” has often been linked with Windows Server Active Directory. By introducing “Entra ID,” Microsoft draws a clear line between its cloud-based identity service and the traditional on-premises system. This change also aligns with Microsoft’s goal to unify its product range under the Microsoft Entra banner, ensuring users’ consistent and straightforward experience.
What Does This Mean for Current Users?
For those already using Azure AD or in the process of deploying it, there’s good news:
- No Interruptions: Your Azure AD will continue to function as usual. All configurations, deployments, and integrations remain unaffected.
- Familiar Features: You can access all the Azure AD features through the Azure portal, Microsoft 365 admin center, and now, the Microsoft Entra admin center.
- Consistent Licensing & Pricing: There are no changes to licensing, terms, service-level agreements, product certifications, support, or pricing.
Transitioning Smoothly from Azure AD to Microsoft Entra ID
Understanding the potential challenges and concerns that come with such a significant change, Microsoft has attempted to minimize disruption for its users, aiming to provide continuity and consistency, even as it introduced a new identity for a familiar product. A couple of things to note for this transition:
- Consistency in Tools: Login URLs, APIs, PowerShell cmdlets, and Microsoft Authentication Libraries (MSAL) that businesses and developers rely on remained unchanged, ensuring no disruptions to existing workflows.
- Updated Service Plans: As of October 1, 2023, users will have noticed changes in the display names for service plans. For instance, what was once known as Azure AD Free is now called Microsoft Entra ID Free.
What’s in a Name?
Names in the tech world are often more than just labels. As Microsoft transitioned from Azure Active Directory to Microsoft Entra ID, it was crucial to ensure that while the branding evolved, the underlying essence and the value it offers to users remained constant. This consistency means that even with the new nomenclature, users can expect the same robust features and functionalities they’ve grown accustomed to. For instance:
- Consistent Access Control: What was previously known as “Azure AD Conditional Access” has transitioned to “Microsoft Entra Conditional Access,” continuing to offer users granular control over who has access to what.
- Seamless Sign-On Experience: The “Azure AD single sign-on” feature, which provides users with a frictionless login experience across applications, is now branded as “Microsoft Entra single sign-on.”
It’s important to note that although many names have been changed, specific terminologies have been retained for clarity and continuity. Terms like Active Directory, developer tools, and Azure AD B2C continue to hold their original names, ensuring familiarity for long-time users.
The Bigger Picture for Microsoft Entra ID
Microsoft’s decision to rename Azure Active Directory to Microsoft Entra ID is more than just a rebranding; it reflects a broader attempt to make technology more accessible and secure for all users in the Modern Workplace
- Embracing Multicloud and Multiplatform: As businesses diversify their tech stacks, using services from various providers and platforms, there’s a growing need for solutions that can effortlessly bridge these different environments. Microsoft Entra ID is designed with this in mind, offering robust multicloud and multiplatform functionalities that ensure seamless identity management, no matter where your services are hosted.
- Clear Distinction from Traditional Systems: For many, the term “Active Directory” is synonymous with the on-premises identity solutions of yesteryears. With the introduction of “Entra ID,” Microsoft is signaling a clear departure from these traditional systems, emphasizing its cloud-first approach and the advantages that come with it.
- Simplified Secure Access: With threats to digital security becoming increasingly sophisticated, there’s a pressing need for tools that offer robust protection without adding complexity. Microsoft Entra ID is a step in this direction, streamlining protective identity and network access processes making them more intuitive and user-friendly.
Partner with OneNeck
As you navigate these changes, remember you’re not alone. OneNeck, as an experienced Microsoft CSP and Solutions Partner, is here to guide and support you every step of the way. Whether you’re seeking insights on the new functionalities or an in-depth Entra ID Assessment, our team is ready to assist. Let us help you harness the full potential of Microsoft Entra ID and ensure a seamless transition for your organization.
Contact us today and take the next step in your digital transformation journey.