Gartner Research

Making the Right Identity Choices for Azure AD and Office 365

Published: 26 February 2016

ID: G00281291

Analyst(s): Mark Diodati


Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is at the intersection of Microsoft's cloud SSO, authentication, mobility, IaaS and Office 365 capabilities. Organizations who leverage these capabilities must master Azure AD and develop a hybrid cloud strategy to securely connect enterprise users.

Table Of Contents


  • A Brief History of the IDaaS Market
  • Single Sign-On for SaaS Applications
  • SaaS Provisioning
  • Other User Constituencies
    • Azure AD B2B Collaboration
    • Azure AD B2C
  • IAM for IaaS
    • Azure AD Domain Services
    • Azure RBAC
  • Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • Office 365
  • Multifactor Authentication
  • Doing Hybrid Well
    • The Future of Hybrid
  • Strengths
    • Deep Integration With Active Directory
    • Azure AD Join
    • Standards Support
    • Demand via Office 365 and Exchange Online
    • Office 365 and Digital Rights Management (DRM) Integration
  • Weaknesses
    • Inadequate SaaS Provisioning
    • No Adaptive Authentication
    • Azure Rights Management Limited Platform Support
    • Challenges With Hybrid Cloud Components


  • Define a Hybrid Cloud Architecture
    • "From the Cloud" IAM
  • Upgrade to Office 2016 as Soon as Practical
  • Consider Multifactor Authentication
  • Implement Alternative SaaS User Provisioning Processes
  • Clean Up Active Directory
  • Use Azure AD Domain Services and AD Connect for Windows VMs
  • Inventory Consumer IAM Requirements Before Using Azure AD B2C
  • Push SaaS Vendors for Better SSO and Provisioning Options
  • Confidently Proceed With Azure AD B2B Collaboration

The Details

  • Hybrid Identity Components
    • Directory Synchronization Products
    • Federated Identity Provider
  • User Management
    • Azure Management Portal
    • Graph API
  • Self-Service
  • Single Sign-On
    • OpenID Connect Applications
    • On-Premises Applications
  • Authentication
    • Password
    • Multifactor Authentication
  • Authorization
    • Groups
    • RBAC
  • Cloud Directory
  • API Access Control
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Azure AD for External User Constituencies
    • Azure AD B2B Collaboration
    • Azure AD B2C
  • Licensing

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