- Our Inside 365 Business Premium offers a deep-dive into each of the features of the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription – especially those that may be lesser-known.
- In this edition, we’ll go in-depth on Azure AD Premium P1, which is an enhanced version of Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure AD identity management service and is one of the biggest reasons to upgrade your Microsoft 365 subscription.
- In plain English, Azure AD Premium P1 grants additional features for subscribers to the 365 Business Premium plan. These features include conditional access, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), cloud app discovery, and more.
Are you getting the most out of Microsoft 365?
If you’re one of the over one million worldwide companies already subscribed to Microsoft 365, you probably already know that Microsoft offers several upgraded flavours of its productivity suite.
While the vast majority of businesses will start out with the Standard subscription, there’s so much more to discover with Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
In our Inside 365 Business Premium series, we’re taking deep-dives into what this package can offer your business.
So, without further ado, let’s find out everything you need to know about Azure AD Premium P1.
What is Azure Active Directory (AD)?
Before we get into the details of Premium P1, let’s first quickly summarise what Azure Activity Directory is.
Whether you know it or not, if you’re an active Microsoft 365 subscriber, you’re already using Azure AD. Microsoft describes the feature as a “cloud-based identity and access management service”. In plain English, that means that Azure AD is a tool your business can use to manage your users, their access permissions, and even their access to other applications via Single Sign-On (SSO).
Azure AD is effectively the backbone of your entire Microsoft 365 system, giving your administrators the ability to add, edit, or delete users or user groups across all Microsoft apps, including Exchange (email), SharePoint, Microsoft Office, and more. Not only that, but Azure AD’s SSO implementation means your team can also log in to over 3500 third-party cloud apps and services, including:
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Dropbox for Business
The free version of Azure AD (i.e. the one you’ll receive with a Microsoft 365 Business Standard subscription) is cloud-based, but it can also sync to any Active Directory installation you might have at your business premises.
And that leads us, quite nicely, to Premium P1.
What is Azure AD Premium P1?
Azure Active Directory Premium P1 is the next an upgraded version of Azure AD which is included with the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription.
Premium P1 brings with it plenty of advanced security and access features for business users, including tools to help your users work more securely from remote locations, but it’s also the perfect choice if you have a “hybrid” setup.
In this context, “hybrid” simply refers to businesses who are running a cloud-based instance of Azure Active Directory and a local “on-premises” instance. Local instances are simply known as “Active Directory”, without the “Azure” prefix, which refers specifically to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure.
Now let’s find out why Premium P1 is such a great addition to the Business Premium subscription.
The features of Azure AD Premium P1 (and how they can help your business)
Now that you have a broad understanding of Azure AD and its upgraded Premium P1 version, it’s time to dig into the details.
Below we’ll explore the tentpole features of the Premium P1 subscription, and why it might be a reason to upgrade your 365 license to Business Premium.
Cloud-based apps and technology are a great evolution for businesses, enabling work-from-anywhere and unshackling companies from their premises.
But this flexibility of access isn’t without its downsides.
When an employee isn’t working on-premises, they could easily be accessing sensitive company information from their own devices: laptops, smartphones, tablets, and so on. They could be the most trustworthy person in the world, but that doesn’t mean their devices are. If you want more fine-grain control over how and where your company data is being accessed, you need Conditional Access.
With conditional access, you can create specific policies and criteria by which users are allowed to access your company data.
For example, you could create a rule that employees can only access their company email from the official Microsoft Outlook app for iOS or Android. Or you might want to enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) policies across third-party devices when they log in from a new location. In this way, you can gain the peace of mind that only your trusted team members are accessing data from their trusted devices.
In a world where data is king, Conditional Access helps keep yours safe.
Cloud App Discovery
Even when your workforce is completely up-to-date on your company’s security policies, it’s still difficult to know exactly who is accessing what.
With so many cloud-based applications available today, connections are endlessly being made from your team’s devices, potentially exposing sensitive company data or creating security holes.
To address this, Azure AD Premium P1 comes complete with Cloud App Discovery.
This tool works by logging and compiling an ongoing list of connections made by cloud-based applications, then making it available to you as an administrator. Put simply, you can view all of the cloud applications your team are using at any one time and monitor the volume of data being used by each.
Along with analysis for security, Cloud App Discovery can also be used to inform your SSO policy, as you may want to integrate some of these third-party apps with your Azure AD system for faster login.
Azure AD Application Proxy
While the world of work has certainly shifted towards working from home in recent times, there’s still many companies who rely on the data housed on-premises.
So how do you make these apps available to your employees even when they’re not at the office?
The answer is the Azure AD Application Proxy.
Application Proxy effectively sits between cloud-based users and your on-premises applications, creating a secure connection between them without exposing your internal network to the entire internet. This isn’t about making your on-premises data available online, but instead creating secure individual connections to trusted users.
Application Proxy is a simple, secure way to allow your team to access both cloud-based and on-premises applications no matter where they are.
Dynamic Group Membership
Creating and managing user groups is one of the most useful features of Azure Active Directory, but it can become time-consuming to manage over time as situations change. For example, if an employee were to move from Marketing to Sales, they’d still occupy a slot in the Marketing AD group until manually moved over.
If you or your administrators are becoming frustrated needing to manually prune your Azure AD groups, you’ll love the Dynamic Groups feature for Azure AD Premium P1.
How does it work? It’s simple: you can enable a set of rules for each user group which dynamically enables or disables group membership on a per-user basis automatically. This removes the need for your admin team to manually juggle group membership.
Dynamic Group membership can be applied based on various different criteria including:
- Job title
- Employee ID
- … and many more
How to start using Azure AD Premium P1
If all of these features sound appealing for your business, you’re probably wondering how you can start using them. It’s actually easier than you might think: all you need is a Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription.
These Microsoft 365 subscriptions start at just £15.10 per user per month, with annual commitment, and you’ll get much more than just Azure AD Premium P1 when you make the jump to the new plan.
In addition to Azure AD Premium P1, we’ve also created guides on the following features which are exclusive to Microsoft 365 Business Premium:
Get the premium experience with a Microsoft 365 upgrade
We know that the Microsoft 365 packages can get more than a little confusing, so we hope this deep-dive has shone a little light on to Azure AD Premium P1 and why you might want to use it in your business.
Ready to talk about upgrading your Microsoft 365 subscription right now, or maybe you’re entirely new to Microsoft 365 and not sure where to start? The team of 365 experts at Get Support is here to help.
Just call us now on 01865 59 4000 to talk about your upgrade, or fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you right away.