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Azure AD vs On premise: Why You Should Switch to Azure Active Directory

By Gary Utley on July 26, 2018



Azure Active Directory is Microsoft’s answer to managing the identities that access your network. It’s a single solution that provides a directory service, management of applications, and identity and role protection. Developers have used this tool for years to enforce user policies and rules, as well as to control access to applications. The latest change to Azure Active Directory is that it now can be run in the cloud.

Traditionally, this software has been run in an on-premise solution. But that is an expensive service to maintain, with businesses required to purchase not only the Azure Active Directory software, but the servers, databases, storage, and network to run the platform. There are also administrative costs to contend with providing the service. Greg Deckler from Fusion Alliance points out that one server can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000. Beta News also reminds us that electricity costs, bandwidth restrictions, and cost, and the replacement of on-premise component parts are all things that many IT admins don’t calculate when deciding on Azure AD vs. on-premise.

Microsoft has a new calculator that helps IT administrators figure out the costs of providing this service on-premise. You can access it here.

These capital expenditures can all be avoided by switching to Azure Active Directory in the cloud.

Azure AD vs. On-Premise: Benefits of Switching to Azure Active Directory

“With on-prem, you typically have a large capital outlay of cash to purchase both hardware and software. This can place a strain on corporate finances and cash, which could take away from other more mission-critical initiatives.”

To cloud or not to cloud has been the unifying question that businesses have been pondering for the last few years. But the annual RightScale survey points out that cloud adoption has grown exponentially and Azure adoption, in particular, is increasing rapidly with enterprise organizations. In the case of Azure Active Directory, there are four key benefits to moving to the cloud:

  • Simplified Access
    Devices can be managed off-sites. There’s a self-service portal for resetting passwords and you’ll be able to skip reviewing employee devices on site.
  • Single Sign-on
    With one identity you can sign on to thousands of SaaS applications.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
    Improves security while reducing the time IT needs to spend on password-related tasks.
  • Access Panel
    In the cloud, you won’t need a VPN to access important data when off-site.

These are just some of the benefits when comparing Azure AD vs. on-premise. Now let’s talk about how to get started with Azure AD.

Getting Started With Azure Active Directory

To understand the Azure Active Directory licensing structure, first review this page from Microsoft.

Start the migration process by signing up for Active Directory Premium and activating your license plan. You can use your existing Azure or Office 365 subscription or use a new Microsoft licensing plan. The process will walk you through adding your corporate domain name to Azure Active Directory, branding the sign-in page, adding new users, assigning licenses, and configuring the self-service password reset.

Or, you can simplify the entire process by partnering with Red River. We can help you start your cloud journey with Azure Active Directory. Contact Red River to learn more.

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