What is Microsoft Entra ID?

What is Microsoft Entra ID?

Microsoft Entra ID is the new name for Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Microsoft’s identity and access management platform that provides a unified and secure way to manage your digital identities across your services.

It’s a cloud-based identity and access management service, allowing for single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and group-based licensing for Microsoft and other 3rd party apps.

With a flat structure in a single tenant, it uses REST APIs to work with other systems and you can use it as your sole directory, or you can sync it with an on-site directory.

Microsoft Entra ID vs Azure AD: are they the same service?

Yes, if you’re using Azure AD today, you don’t need to do anything to switch to Microsoft Entra ID.

It’s the same product and it won’t affect your functionality, pricing, or licensing. You’ll see the new name in the Azure portal, the Microsoft 365 admin centre, and anywhere else you’d find mentions of Azure AD.

For clarity, the individual standalone licence names will also update as follows:

  • Azure AD Free > Microsoft Entra ID Free
  • Azure AD Premium P1 > Microsoft Entra ID P1
  • Azure AD Premium P2 > Microsoft Entra ID P2

Why the name change?

Quite simply, the name ‘Azure AD’ never made sense from a technical perspective, as explained in depth in this video. Azure AD wasn’t part of an Azure subscription, and it also wasn’t Microsoft’s Active Directory Domain Services replicated in the cloud – it was a completely different service and technology. So ‘AD’ didn’t make sense in that respect.

Because it sits within the new Entra product family, it’s a more logical name from that standpoint. But at a deeper level, it also makes sense when you consider ‘Entra’ to symbolise “Entrance”. Given that Entra ID provides access to various cloud and on-premises services, it really does provide our entrance to the services we use every day.

In the best-practice Zero Trust approach to cyber security, identity is the new security perimeter – not the corporate firewall. Therefore, the identity control plane is the new access gateway– it’s the entrance – and it can be unlocked or locked.

Support with Microsoft Entra ID

If you are interested in using Microsoft Entra ID in your organisation, Chorus is a leading UK Microsoft Partner and here to help.

Ready to do more with Entra ID? Talk to us today.