Microsoft To Issue Free Windows Azure AD Improvements
- By Kurt Mackie
- October 07, 2013
Microsoft is expected to release several no-cost enhancements to Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) by year's end.
WAAD became generally available earlier this year, but several Windows Azure add-on projects (such as BizTalk Services, Backup and Cache) are mostly still at the preview stage in various categories, as listed here. WAAD is a free service, according to Microsoft's pricing details page, but not all Windows Azure add-ons will be free. For instance, the Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication service that rolled out last month costs $2 per user (or per authentication), billed on a monthly basis.
In a blog post last Friday by Alex Simons, director of program management for Microsoft's Active Directory team, Microsoft listed five new "application access" enhancements to WAAD that will be offered for free:
- Single sign-on for apps in the Windows Azure app gallery. There's no surprise here as Microsoft previously announced that this "preintegrated" single sign-on support for hosted applications would be offered at no charge. The gallery currently supports 227 services, including hosted solutions such as Dropbox, Gmail, and Salesforce.com, among others.
- Application access controls. IT pros can assign who has access to hosted apps.
- User provisioning. Microsoft is currently working with software vendors to enable the automatic provisioning of hosted app access.
- Security reporting. Microsoft is adding an access reporting capability that shows app use, as well as "unusual patterns." An example of unusual pattern might be a user logging in from multiple locations concurrently.
- Application Access Panel. This portal is a single place for users to launch applications or change their passwords and other settings.
These five free application access enhancements will be generally available for use with WAAS by the end of 2013, according to Alex Simons, director of program management for Microsoft's Active Directory team.
Simons suggested that WAAD use was growing. He cited 430 billion user authentications, which was "up 43% from June." Back then, Microsoft had said WAAD had processed "265 billion authentication requests from around the world."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.