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Implementing Azure Active Directory: University of Washington to Share Lessons Learned at Upcoming TechEX 2018

Oct 08, 2018, by Eric Kool-Brown
Tags: 2018 Technology Exchange, Azure, Frontpage News, Higher Education, InCommon Participant, Internet2 Member, Recent Posts, Trust & Identity

Identity-as-a-Service (IdaaS) has emerged as one of the many cloud-based Software-as-a-Service offerings. Some of the more well-known names in this field include Okta, Forgerock, OneLogin, and Auth0. The biggest tech players also offer IdaaS which includes AWS Cognito, Google IdP, and Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). 

Each of these platforms offer a suite of features with a broad range of pricing from extremely inexpensive but relatively generic (Cognito) to expensive but highly customizable (Okta). Where does Azure AD fall in this spectrum? 

Azure AD is actually much more than an identity provider. As the cloud-based successor to Active Directory, it offers a full directory service with significant advancements over on-premise AD. Many of these new features are based on an adoption of a web-API (RESTful HTTPS) oriented methodology with the old socket-based binary protocols being completely deprecated. 

This, of course, is in service of what folks are calling the API economy. Azure AD takes advantage of other Azure features, including massive scaling, machine learning, and tight integration with Microsoft’s other cloud technologies, such as Office 365. At the same time these new capabilities, because they are so new, are often not fully realized or they lack what would seem to be obvious features.
Many higher education institutions are adopting Office 365 for its suite of cloud-based productivity applications. Azure AD is an integral component of Office 365. Can schools leverage Azure AD to enhance their IT offerings on their campuses in a cost-effective manner? 

There is no simple answer. I encourage you to join me during my TechEX 2018 presentation on Wednesday, October 17 at 8 a.m., where I will dive into the features and capabilities of Azure AD and share lessons learned from our implementation journey at the University of Washington.