What is our primary use case?
Our hybrid system includes in-house domain controllers and Azure integration to link with Microsoft Office solutions. We develop some small-time applications with Power BI and use the tool for local user authentications.
Our office has only two departments, so we don't use the solution across multiple locations. It's an in-house tool, and we created the hybrid system so that specific users can still connect remotely when they are off-prem. We have around 50 total end users.
How has it helped my organization?
The solution made our organization very flexible and increased our security because we previously faced authentication issues; our users sometimes could not connect from their laptops when they took them off-premises. There were also occasions where the cache was lost, so we couldn't troubleshoot, and users could not log in. This issue was solved, and now the system is flawless.
Azure AD helped to save time for our IT administrators; I haven't calculated precisely how much, but I believe it saves me two to three hours a week.
We are delighted with our organization's Azure AD user experience, so we have no complaints about that. One of the best aspects is we don't have to update anything; Microsoft handles all of that for us.
What is most valuable?
The solution allows users to authenticate from home, and the Office 360 integration is advantageous.
Azure AD provides a single pane of glass for managing user access, making the user sign-on experience flawlessly consistent; there is little difference between working from home or on-premises.
The single pane of glass makes the application of our security policies very consistent, as they are replicated well. We use a VPN to connect with users while working from home, ensuring our security policies are in place. This means there is little difference when staff work from home, as we can track their work.
Verified ID is quite effective and secure when it comes to privacy and control of identity data.
We use the solution's Permission Management, which provides excellent controls over identity permissions in Azure AD, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google Clouds. We don't have any issues with this asset.
The Permission Management feature helps to reduce our risk surface when it comes to identity permissions.
What needs improvement?
The product could be more cost-effective.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using the solution for around four and a half years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is excellent; we recently experienced our only Azure outage, which was a global one.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The solution is very scalable.
How are customer service and support?
We never had to contact customer support, and the only time we contacted Microsoft was to renew our contract or change the provider. I provide technical support within our organization.
How would you rate customer service and support?
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We didn't previously use a different solution; before Azure AD, our infrastructure was all on-prem, with only specific data and backup in the cloud.
How was the initial setup?
I carried out the deployment, which was pretty straightforward; I previously did a course on Azure, so it wasn't a problem for me. The solution requires very little maintenance, and I'm the sole admin.
It took around three weeks to realize the benefits from the time of deployment, as we had to migrate many of our older systems into Azure, and the integration involved a lot of other vendors. Our email was on a Linux server, and we had a different cloud provider, so the deployment required significant collaboration with multiple parties.
As a small organization, we didn't have a deployment strategy as such, but my approach was to communicate with the other solutions' vendors to gather the required information. Then, I migrated our Linux emailing system into Azure, after which I went for the data, so it was relatively straightforward.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The solution costs us 60,000 Rupees annually, just over $700, and there are no additional costs.
We have to pay for the antivirus solution Microsoft offers with Azure AD, and they should provide it for free. It comes free with OSs, so it should be free with Azure too.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We didn't evaluate other options; we work solely with Microsoft products, so Azure AD is what we got.
What other advice do I have?
I rate the solution nine out of ten.
The admin center is very useful, but I prefer to remote into my server to do the administration that way, so I don't use it very much.
We use the solution's Verified ID and two-factor authentication, but we don't use it to onboard remote employees; all our staff are based on-premises and sometimes go off-prem, but typically, they're all in the office. We don't have remote workers as such.
Regarding cost, I don't think the solution saved us that much, but feature-wise, it's excellent.
To others considering Azure AD, it's an excellent product. If you want stability and simplicity on your system, it's a great choice, and I definitely recommend it.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.