As digital transformation efforts have accelerated throughout the past year, organizations have rapidly worked to enable a hybrid workforce. The rise of remote access to apps and devices and the need to secure access to them has created a new paradigm for network security.

The increased risk of complex cyber threats has also been a significant motivator for security investments. Cybercrime has increased by 400 percent in 2019 and 2020 combined. This is likely to continue in 2021. Business leaders are pushing the envelope by deploying cloud-based security solutions to stay ahead of the curve.

That said, the business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have required organizations to tighten their budgets and discover ways to reduce costs while increasing value. Many of these organizations have found that investing in Azure Active Directory (AD) can result in a 123% ROI over three years in a payback period of six months.*

Total Economic Impact Azure AD image 1

In this blog, we will discuss what you need to know about Azure AD and how your organization can increase user productivity, reduce cost, and gain IT efficiencies by securing your apps and identities with Azure Active Directory.

Azure Active Directory is Microsoft’s multi-tenant, cloud-based identity and access management service. It helps employees sign in and access external resources (Microsoft 365, the Azure portal, thousands of Software-as-a-Service apps) and internal resources (apps on your corporate network, cloud apps developed by your organization).

Azure AD enables users to access apps and resources from both cloud and on-premises servers, as well as allowing them to utilize features such as single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and conditional access.

With Azure Active Directory, you can manage your IT environment’s identity, security, and compliance controls with a single tool.

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Data breaches are becoming more sophisticated every year and can be remarkably expensive for organizations who experience them. Because breaches often start with a compromised account, it is essential to protect your organizational users from unauthorized access and protect identities from accidental harm.

With Azure AD, organizations can easily implement a variety of security measures designed to protect their users and resources, including threat detection, conditional access, multi-factor authentication, and privileged identity management (PIM).

Azure Active Directory provides automated responses to unusual user behavior and “just-in-time” administrative access to Microsoft services, meaning you can feel confident that your resources, apps, and identities are always protected. According to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Forrester Consulting, organizations who adopted Azure Active Directory experienced a 45% reduction in the likelihood of a data breach.

Organizations who adopted Azure Active Directory experienced a 45% reduction in the likelihood of a data breach.

In today’s hybrid work environment, your organizational users need to be empowered to seamlessly use all their tools and apps from anywhere. If your users need to sign into multiple apps throughout the day, this can not only be time-consuming, but also increases the likelihood of access issues requiring IT help desk support.

With Azure AD, you can connect all your apps, both Microsoft 365 and 3rd party apps, using single sign-on. This allows for faster onboarding of new employees, quicker access management, and the ability to immediately implement access to new cloud services so users have access to these services as they become available.

This streamlined process helps promote a positive user experience and empower a productive workforce.

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Due to the complicated nature of securing identities, some organizations use multiple tools for just managing identity and access management (that’s not including threat protection, securing endpoints, etc.). Paying for these multiple tools and licenses, as well as training your administrators to be proficient in all these different tools, can be costly.

Azure AD is the ultimate platform for managing identities and permissions. By consolidating your identity and access management platform to one tool, you have all your essential controls in one place. With it, you can you easily assign users to groups or rules based on attributes, and you can group them according to their roles and permissions.

According to the Forrester study, organizations experience 100% cost savings by eliminating on-premises environments and consolidating identity infrastructure.

100% cost savings by eliminating on-premises environments and consolidating identity infrastructure Azure AD

If there are two words that are likely to sound like nails on a chalkboard to your IT support team, it is “password reset.”

Depending on the size of your organization, your IT team can receive hundreds, if not thousands, of password reset requests a month. This isn’t just frustrating for your IT team, though. Locked out users can’t access critical apps and documents that they need to be productive and get their jobs done. All these manual password resets take up a great deal of your IT team’s time, reducing their ability to focus on bigger picture tasks.

Azure AD’s Self-Service Password Reset empowers employees to reset their own passwords without the need of contacting the IT support team. This frees up your IT team to focus on higher priority tasks and enables your end-users to get back into their account quicker, saving you costs and increasing productivity.

Additionally, Azure Active Directory provides comprehensive reporting, enabling your business to monitor application usage, protect from advanced threats, and ultimately reduce the need for your IT Team to be hands-on in managing the system.

Azure AD results in 50% reduction in overall management effort for admin team

With Azure Active Directory, you can reduce costs and increase value while empowering your users with access to the world’s leading cloud applications and services on any device they choose, from wherever they need to access it from.

Our Microsoft Security Workshops can help you strengthen your organization’s security posture. Workshops include a threat check analysis of your environment, overview of Microsoft 365 security features, and actionable recommendations including a deployment plan for a protected and secure workforce. Additionally, workshops are conducted at no-cost to eligible customers through Microsoft programs. Learn More. >

*Source: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Securing Apps With Microsoft Azure Active Directory