Since Microsoft Azure Active Directory announced its full IDaaS offering – Azure AD Premium – it’s been difficult to try it out. If you were paying close attention, there was a span of one week between when the preview was announced and when you could sign up for a free 90-day trial. Since that time the only way to see if it was a worthy IDaaS offering for your business was to sign up for it at $4 per user. And even then, you could only gain access to it if you were an Enterprise Agreement customer.
Today Microsoft made kicking the tires of Azure AD Premium a little easier. The product now has a 90-day free trial, available to anyone with an Azure subscription. All you need to do is create a directory instance, go to Licenses, and activate the Azure Active Directory Premium trial. (See the directory team’s blog post for a video on how to do this.)
Users quick enough on the draw to sign up for a trial when the product first went into preview probably know that the 90-day preview trial expires next Tuesday. You can extend this trial another 90 days by signing up for the permanent trial offer. (If you want to stretch this out to the max, of course you can wait until next Monday.)
Currently Azure AD Premium is still only available to the largest, EA agreement customers, but this barrier will be lowered as well. IDaaS provides just as compelling an IAM solution to small and medium customers as it does to large customers.
Azure Active Directory continues on its strong development curve; a few days ago the product passed the milestone of 2000 web applications integrated into the product as available for single sign on, one week ahead of the team’s July 1st goal. As with any IDaaS vendor, though, it’s important to recognize there’s a lot of “putting lipstick on a pig” going on here: Only a disappointingly small percentage (<7%) of these applications support identity federation and thus actually use a company’s on-premises AD to authenticate their users. The vast majority require inputting a userid and password. IDaaS solutions solve this by storing identity information in their cloud-based service, then automatically fill in the user’s credentials when they select an app from the IDaaS service’s user portal.