Is Azure® Active Directory® an Outsourced Directory?

By Natalie Bluhm Posted May 29, 2018

is azure ad an outsourced directory

As Microsoft® makes a big push with Azure®, we often hear IT admins ask, “Is Azure Active Directory® an outsourced directory?” In other words, can Azure AD replace its on-prem counterpart, Active Directory? These questions are good ones considering that IT organizations are interested in making the leap to the cloud.

However, the short answer is no. An outsourced Azure Active Directory is not a replacement for the on-prem Active Directory platform. Let’s expand upon this a little further.

Azure AD isn’t a Full-Fledged Directory

Active Directory fails in the cloud

The truth is, Azure AD is really a user management system for Azure and a first generation IDaaS platform (i.e. web application single sign-on solution). Due to this limited scope, Azure AD is really meant to work in conjunction with the on-prem Active Directory platform. So, IT organizations are able to utilize the cloud (especially Microsoft’s cloud), but they still have one foot chained to their on-prem Active Directory infrastructure. They are also stuck leveraging a Windows-centric environment because both of these Microsoft identity management solutions work best with Windows systems, applications, and file storage.

However, the IT landscape has evolved significantly. It’s changed so much that IT organizations have some very big decisions to make regarding their IT environment strategy. Many of those decisions center around whether or not they will lock themselves into Microsoft platforms over the next decade or not. Because these days, Microsoft solutions aren’t the only solid option. There is cloud infrastructure from AWS®, productivity platforms from Google (G Suite, formerly Google Apps), and systems from Mac® and Linux®. These non-Microsoft IT resources are challenging for AD and Azure AD to manage, so IT organizations shouldn’t look to an outsourced Azure Active Directory solution to solve their identity management struggles. Instead, they should consider a cloud identity management platform called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. As a neutral IAM solution, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service securely manages and connects user identities to the IT resources they need regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location.

Better Than an Outsourced Azure AD


Completely cloud-based, JumpCloud’s independent approach enables Directory-as-a-Service to integrate with Linux, Mac, and Windows systems, local and cloud servers, legacy and web-based applications, physical and virtual file storage, and WiFi and wired networks. With just one solution, IT admins can optimize and secure authentication to every IT resource in their environment. For end users, this means they only have to keep track of one set of credentials, and they gain a frictionless workflow

So, now you have to ask yourself, do you want to set yourself up to be locked into a Microsoft IT world for the next decade or do you want the freedom to use the modern IT resources that will work best for your organization?

Learn More

Are you still wondering, “Is Azure Active Directory an outsourced directory?” Drop us a note. We’d be happy to explain how JumpCloud is a comprehensive outsourced directory service. If you’re interested in testing our identity management platform, sign up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever and you’ll be able to explore all of our features.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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