Microsoft Azure Active Directory – Identity Models Explained

Written by Muditha Chathuranga on Wednesday, October 10th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AAD) is a multi-tenant cloud-based directory and identity management service. It combines core directory services, access management, and identity protection in to a single solution. Azure Active Directory is not to be confused with Azure Active Directory Domain Services, which is a separate service and not the focus of this article.

For every organization that chooses to subscribe to Microsoft Online Services– Office 365, Dynamics 365, Intune, etc., choosing the correct identity model for AAD becomes an important task. In this article, we will have a look at the characteristics of each.

While there are no specific dependencies on the identity model of AAD for Microsoft Online Services to function, your organizational needs and other factors such as manageability, access control, auditing, and user experience determine which identity model should be deployed.

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Start Automating Your Cloud with Azure Automation

Written by Freddy Mora Silva on Wednesday, October 3rd 2018 — Categories: Azure, Patching, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

As part of any monitoring strategy, we might need to automate some tasks to provide key information to evaluate the state of our infrastructure or apply a repetitive action to resolve specific issues.

We have several ways to implement this. One option is to use Microsoft’s Azure Automation toolset. Let’s explore what you can control with Azure Automation and how to get started using it for cloud server update management, configuration, and more.

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Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Getting Started with Identity Management in the Cloud, Part 2

Written by Muditha Chathuranga on Wednesday, September 19th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, Security

Microsoft Azure Active Directory, or AAD, is an IDaaS (Identity as a Service) offering that helps you manage corporate identities in the cloud. In this blog series, we're taking a look at the primary AAD features that you'll use to get your ID management up and running for Azure cloud services.

In Part 1 we discussed Connect, Single-Sign On, and Multifactor Authentication. You can also find a table of AAD pricing on that post. Remember, this series is not a deep dive into AAD configuration, but rather an overview of key features. Depending on your SKU you may or may not have access to all of these features.

Part 2 includes Self Service Password Resets, Identity Protection, Conditional Access, and Privileged Identity Management. These features help you control access and maintain security and compliance protocol across your enterprise cloud.

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Adjusting Your Channel Operations for Cloud Resale

Written by David Neely on Thursday, September 13th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, IT Channel

The IT channel is taking ever bigger bites out of the cloud computing market. Only 39% of companies report sourcing their cloud services directly from Cloud Service Providers, leaving the remaining 61% to a mix of CSPs and third parties, with 10% coming primarily from third parties alone, according to a CompTIA survey. Meanwhile, IaaS, Security as a Service (SECaaS), and SaaS all offer higher average MMR than Contact Center as a Service, Data Networks, and Voice Network services, according to Avant.

If you’re looking to shift some of your clients and sales towards the cloud, you need to adjust your operations accordingly or risk losing customers to direct sales or competitors.

Here are the biggest changes you’ll need to make to your channel sales and IT operations in order to maximize on your cloud resale strategy.

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Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Getting Started with Identity Management in the Cloud, Part 1

Written by Muditha Chathuranga on Thursday, September 6th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure Active Directory is an IDaaS (Identity as a Service) offering that helps you manage corporate identities in the cloud. The solution itself is a cloud service that is hosted in Microsoft Azure datacenters globally. You can provision your tenant in a datacenter closest to where your organization is located.

Since AAD is a cloud offering it of course requires a paid subscription to use many of its features. But there’s a free tier for those who want to explore and are just getting started with the service.

This two part article is not a deep dive how-to guide. Rather, this is an effort to talk about a few major features available with AAD that you can use to get started with managing identities in the cloud. Depending on your AAD SKU, you may, or you may not have some of the features that are being discussed.

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Azure Management Groups Simplify Subscription Administration

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, August 30th 2018 — Categories: Cloud, Azure, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

If your enterprise cloud environment has started to sprawl out beyond one or two Azure subscriptions, chances are you’ll need to implement some form of management and policy enforcement across your Enterprise Agreement to control costs and ensure compliance. Enter Azure Management Groups.

Management Groups can be used to apply conditions to subscriptions based on Azure regions, SKU sizes, server versions, resource type, and more. They work in conjunction with Azure Policy and Azure Role Based Access Controls (RBAC) and are similar to Active Directory in their setup and administration.

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Choosing Your Azure Deployment Model

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 15th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

You’re ready to start deploying and migrating applications into Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform — but there are four deployment models to contend with. Which should you choose? Each has strengths and weaknesses depending on the service you are setting up. Some might require more attention than others, but offer additional control. Others integrate services like load balancing or Operating Systems as more of a Platform as a Service.

Learn the differences between Azure Service Fabric, Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Containers, and Azure App Services, and when you might want to choose one over another. Green House Data is also ready to help you decide which of your business applications belong in which bucket — and we can help you administrate them, too.

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Could Your Data Center Be Put Out to Pasture Within the Next Decade?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, August 2nd 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation, Hybrid IT, IT Modernization, IT Operations

We’ve gone back and forth on this for many years now. Are enterprise data centers dying? Gartner seems to think so, recently predicting that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centers, compared to 10% today.

That’s less than ten years out. Do you foresee your data center being put out to pasture within a decade? Or largely decommissioned and consolidated? It doesn’t seem too far-fetched considering an average hardware lifespan of three years. You could cycle through your servers three times over before then — and most of those compute workloads will likely end up in the cloud or hosted elsewhere.

Here's how that change will affect how you procure and manage IT services.

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“Lift and Shift” is the Opposite of Digital Transformation

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 26th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, IT Modernization, IT Operations

Migrating to the cloud? Now is the perfect time to start or continue your digital transformation. There are several methods when it comes to cloud migration. At some point in your cloud journey you’re bound to encounter more than one of them and each of them certainly has its purpose.

But if you aren’t designing in the cloud, for the cloud (which could involve rearchitecting or procuring replacement application components), you’re missing out on many of the biggest advantages of cloud computing.

Here’s why “lift and shift” ends up stifling what could be a transformative cloud migration that sets the stage for your enterprise IT for years to come.

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Should You Be Using Microservices in Your App Development?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, July 3rd 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Software Development

While microservice application architecture dates back to 2011, enterprise IT tends to move relatively slowly when it comes to the adoption of new technologies. The concept and methodology has been refined in concert with the rise of cloud computing, and now microservices are a popular way to build, deploy, and most importantly scale applications.

Microservices can improve your agility, security, and resiliency, but they require a major adjustment to your development team’s workflow and the architecture of your application itself. Read on to learn the advantages of microservices and potential caveats for their use.

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