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Today, most of the organization are adopting the concept of a hybrid model, where they use the combination of on-prem infrastructure and cloud platform to deploy applications and data.

User’s need access for both on-premises and in the cloud. Hybrid Identity has become the new control plane, and the reason behind it is when a user uses all kinds of web applications with different user accounts. As they leave the web applications, it becomes challenging to track all those individually managed.

Hybrid Identity has the new control plane where we can manage thousands of applications with one Identity, enable business without borders, manage access, and offer cloud-powered protection.

Microsoft Azure AD is one such platform which provides better features and functionality for Identity and Security Management.

What is Azure AD?

Azure Active Directory is Microsoft’s multi-tenant, cloud-based identity, and access management service. The digital infrastructure permits users to sign in and access external resources held in Office 365, SaaS application, and the corporate network. As Azure AD is entirely a cloud-based, it provides the flexibility of being the only directory or can sync with on-prem directory via Azure AD connect.

So, in short, it empowers both on-premises and cloud-based users to get to the same apps and resources. It is, moreover, benefiting SSO, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Conditional Access and more.


Azure AD Connect enable hybrid Windows AD and Azure AD deployments and syncs data between the on-premise DCs and the cloud. Azure AD Connect will sync user accounts from your on-premise system to your Azure tenant with the password hash synchronization, pass-through authentication, and federation. Let us understand about the three-hybrid authentication in detail.





Password Hash Synchronization (PHS)

Password hash synchronization is a sign-in strategy that is performed with the hybrid identity solution. So, a hash of a user’s on-prem Active Directory (AD) password is synchronized to a cloud-based Azure AD is used to achieve a hybrid identity solution with PHS. This is normally used signing into Azure services such as Office 365 with the same password as an on-prem AD account. This is best solution for end users as it makes a pleasant end user experience. By a Password Hash Synchronization method, it helps the user to reduce the number of passwords to remember.



Pass through Authentication (PTA)

Like Password Hash Synchronization, Azure AD Pass-through Authentication permits users to sign in to on-prem apps and cloud-based apps by using the same password. Pass-through authentication uses user password directly against the on-premises Active Directory. A synced password hash is never used by the user.

It offers organizations the ability to enforce on-prem Active Directory Security Policies and Password Policies since it influences the on-prem credentials. Putting together the Pass-through Authentication with Seamless Single Sign-On permits an organization’s users to access applications on corporate machines inside the network, without expecting to type their passwords again.

Federation Authentication (AD FA)

Federation is somewhat unique in relation to the other two techniques. It comprises of a collection of domains with an established trust. The trust commonly incorporates authentication and quite often includes authorization. A typical federation configuration would include several organizations that have set up trust for shared access to a set of resources. This process would require at least one ADFS Proxy servers, ADFS servers and SSL certificates.

 All these will help the user to have a similar user id and password on-premise and in the cloud. So, having an Azure AD Connect is compulsory at the hybrid environment. It’s important that your security solution give you a clear view of each user whether they’re getting to cloud or on-prem assets.


















Key Consideration Before Implementing Azure AD

  • Licensing – Azure AD has monthly subscription licensing like office 365 licenses. Mainly Azure AD is having Free, Office 365 Apps, Premium P1, & Premium P2. 
  • Choose your scenario – Hybrid is the best way if you have Windows AD and if you are going for cloud-based infrastructure, then Azure AD will be the best choice. In a Hybrid environment, go for the Federated configuration. 
  • SSO – Configure the cloud apps and services for enabling Azure SSO and set-up hybrid cloud. 
  • User Provisioning – Install a self-enrollment for the users to run the process by themselves, Windows Autopilot, or have an admin enroll your users.

Benefits of Hybrid Identities

  • By remote access, the business can increase their productivity by getting access from anywhere and anytime.
  • Create and deal with a single identity for every user in all the data center-based directories. Also, keeping everything in a sync manner and providing self-service SSO for users. 
  • Makes the assets productive with self-service passwords for both data center and cloud-based directories.
  • Companies have total visibility and command over security and observing to reduce inappropriate user activities and find user behavior’s irregularities. 
  • Authorize robust verification to sensitive applications and information with conditional access strategies and multi-factor validation.
  • Provide SSO access to cloud-based applications.


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