Entra ID: how Azure Active Directory has changed in 2023
Blog //07-09-2023

Entra ID: how Azure Active Directory has changed in 2023

by Advanced PR, Author

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) - Microsoft's cloud-based identity and access management service, is used by organisations worldwide to manage user identities and create intelligent access policies. For the past few years, it has been a fundamental tool used by businesses to streamline user access, enhance security, and facilitate seamless collaboration across various applications and services.

In July 2023, Microsoft announced that Azure Active Directory would join the Microsoft Entra product family, transitioning to Microsoft Entra ID from August 2023. While the change is primarily a rebranding, 2023 has also brought about a handful of new features for Entra ID, which make the tool even more potent going forward.

In this blog, we will go over everything you need to know about Entra ID and its differences from Azure Active Directory. We’ll also take a look at all of the new features that have been added to Entra ID this year, to help you get informed about the future of the gold standard of identity management. 

Azure AD becomes Entra ID

In July 2023, Microsoft announced that Azure Active Directory would change its branding to Entra ID. This would make it a part of the Microsoft Entra product line - a product family completely dedicated to identity and access tools. 

While this may seem like a massive shift in the abilities of Azure AD, Microsoft has insisted that Entra ID and Azure AD functionality will be no different, and that the change will simply be a change in naming convention. All licenses will apply going forward, meaning that anyone using Azure AD won’t need to change anything for Entra ID.

Microsoft aims to have all instances of Azure AD as Entra ID by the end of 2023, with changes beginning at the start of August 2023. They’ve also stated that they’re standardising the term ID for all of their identity products, which make up the majority of the Microsoft Entra product family.

What is Microsoft Entra? 

Microsoft Entra is Microsoft’s product family of access and identity solutions. It’s part of the Microsoft Security portfolio, which also includes Purview, Defender, Priva, and Sentinel. 

Azure Active Directory has always been considered a part of the Entra product family, but the change to Microsoft Entra ID has simply cemented this.

  • Microsoft Entra ID Governance: Microsoft Entra ID Governance lets you balance your organisation’s need for security and productivity by providing you with the ability to ensure that everyone has access to the right resources.
  • Microsoft Entra External ID: Microsoft Entra External ID is a solution to help you easily provide access to external parties, such as customers and partners.
  • Microsoft Entra Verified ID: Microsoft Entra Verified ID is a verifiable credentials service that helps you safeguard your institution by issuing and verifying credentials.
  • Microsoft Entra Permissions Management: Microsoft Entra Permissions Management is a cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) solution that lets you comprehensively see and manage permissions assigned to everyone and everything within your organisation.
  • Microsoft Entra Workload ID: Microsoft Entra Workload ID grants workloads with identities to access and communicate with other services and workloads.
  • Microsoft Entra Internet Access: Microsoft Entra Internet Access secures all internet access from your organisation, with an identity-centric secure web gateway (SWG) solution.
  • Microsoft Entra Private Access: Microsoft Entra Private Access is Microsoft’s identity-centric Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution.

New features in Azure AD/Entra ID in 2023

Privileged Identity Management for groups

In June, Microsoft introduced Privileged Identity Management for groups within Azure Active Directory, meaning that you can use the same identity management tools used for individual identity management for groups within your organisation.

You can use role-assignable groups to utilise assignable roles within Entra ID to ensure that you can use different AD access and identity requirements for each group.

Conditional Access Granular Controls for external user types

Conditional Access Granular Controls are now available for external user types, meaning that you can much more easily authenticate and manage external users within your organisation.

By using the conditional access policies made available, you can easily assign workload identities, cloud apps, conditions, and most importantly, access controls to your external users, meaning that you can fully control your organisation’s incoming security threat.

Privileged Identity Management and Conditional Access integration

Using Microsoft Entra ID, you can easily ensure that privileged identity management is implemented thoroughly by using conditional access integrations to give you full access controls.

With this, you can use MFA and identity management roles to control who has access to what within your organisation, meaning that people can access whatever they need while keeping your organisation secure.

Authenticator Lite in Outlook

Authenticator Lite is a protection surface for Entra ID which lets you complete multi-factor authentication (MFA) using time-based one-time passcodes (TOTP) on a mobile device.

Using Authenticator Lite, you can make access far easier for those within your organisation. Authenticator Lite is easy to use and is located within Outlook mobile, meaning anyone within your organisation can access it using apps they already have.

Business benefits of Entra ID

Entra ID is massively useful for any organisation, as it provides lots of useful access and security tools to keep your organisation safe:

  • Improved security: Using identity management within your organisation will keep your organisation secure from unauthorised external access threats.
  • Improved compliance: Greater security will be better for compliance, as it will reduce the chance of security breaches and other compliance issues.
  • Cost reduction: Rather than having to dedicate resources to manual security methods, identity management systems do the same thing for a fraction of the price.

How we can help

Advanced’s credentials are second to none. We provide mission-critical services and support that helps our customers focus on their core activity while accelerating and transforming digitally. As a longstanding Microsoft Partner with specialisations in Infrastructure (Azure), Azure Virtual Desktop Advanced Specialisation, and Digital & App Innovation (Azure), you can lean on our expertise to create an empowering roadmap, unlocking the capacity and flexibility to take your business into a stronger future. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

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