Goodbye Azure AD, Hello Entra ID

Today Microsoft made big announcements about its Microsoft Entra suite of identity and security products and capabilities. The Microsoft Entra suite is expanding into Security Service Edge and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is becoming Microsoft Entra ID. Azure Active Directory as a name is now earmarked for the history books and Entra ID is born. Oh, and in case you missed it amongst the other announcements there is also Entra ID Protection.

The road to Active Directory and Azure Active Directory has been a long one. I’ve been working with Microsoft Identity Services before even Windows for Workgroups 3.1 was released in 1992. Just as when Microsoft announced Active Directory as the directory services successor for Windows Domains, it is a moment to reflect on how far we have come, and how we need to continually adapt to the evolutionary change of technology to meet our needs.

The Entra Suite

Up until today’s announcement the Entra Suite consisted of a series of products and services that had also evolved in capability and through naming:

  • Azure AD Verifiable Credentials => Entra Verified ID
  • Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) => Entra Permissions Management
  • Azure AD Customer Identity & Access Management (CIAM) => Entra External ID

and features of Azure Active Directory (now Entra ID):

  • Azure AD Identity Governance => Entra Identity Governance
  • Azure AD Workload Identities => Entra Workload ID

Now we can add to that both Entra ID (formally known as Azure Active Directory), Entra Internet Access, Entra Private Access and Entra ID Protection to get this lineup:

  • Entra ID
    • As announced today the rebrand of Azure Active Directory
  • Entra Permissions Management
    • The cloud infrastructure entitlement management service that enables organisations to discover, remediate, and monitor permission risks across multi-cloud infrastructure.
  • Entra Verified ID
    • Self-sovereign decentralised identity (DID) services that enables organisations to create, issue, and verify privacy-respecting decentralized identity credentials and users to own and control their digital identity.
  • Entra External ID
    • The unified identity platform for next generation customer identity & access management (CIAM).
  • Entra Workload ID
    • Identity management of accounts for workloads such as applications and automation services
  • Entra Identity Governance
    • Management of the lifecycle of identity including privileged access and certification of entitlements
  • Entra ID Protection
    • Entra ID based machine learning to identify sign-in risks and unusual behaviours
  • Entra Internet Access
    • Secure access to all internet resources, SaaS, and Microsoft applications with an identity centric secure web gateway access management solution
  • Entra Private Access
    • Secure access to all company resources with an identity centric Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution

Closing Thoughts

Entra ID doesn’t roll off the tongue easily right now. But then Active Directory didn’t either when announced. Yes, coming from a Novell background there were lots of jibes about the naming and unanswered questions such as, “what is active about it?”.

20+ years on with its meteoric rise to be the primary enterprise directory service for the majority of organisations it is here to stay. But with a new haircut and new capabilities. Hello Entra ID.