Comparing Azure Active Directory Plans

Azure AD is offered in different per-user subscription plans or a pay-as-you-go model. Decide your pick depending on what each plan offers.

Azure AD Basic vs Premium

Managing multiple usernames, passwords, and devices for various platforms can be a daunting task for both employees and administrators in large organizations. Luckily, Microsoft Azure Active Directory offers a solution to this issue. If you’re unfamiliar with Azure Active Directory and would like to learn about its advantages in the workplace, then continue reading to find out more.

Additionally, we will compare the Azure Basic and the Premium plans to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the options that Microsoft offers on the Azure Active Directory, allowing you to streamline your professional life more effectively.

What is Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory is a cloud-based identity management service that facilitates easy sign-up and access to various services for employees in an organization, regardless of their location. With the help of a unified set of login credentials, users can securely access cloud services, making their work experience more streamlined and efficient.

Azure Active Directory vs. Windows Active Directory

Although a Windows Active Directory and Azure Active Directory share similar names, they are distinct products offered by Microsoft. Initially launched with Windows Server 2000, Active Directory served as an on-premises identity management solution for organizations to manage multiple infrastructure systems and components using a single user identity.

In contrast, Microsoft introduced Azure Active Directory as an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) solution designed for organizations that require cloud-based identity and access management.

Azure AD enables secure access to cloud and on-premises apps, with features like Azure AD Connect and Azure AD B2B, which expand on the capabilities of Active Directory. Azure AD Connect syncs identities to the cloud, while Azure AD B2B manages the link to external user identities for verification purposes.

Azure Active Directory Licensing

It’s worth noting that Azure Active Directory is already included in both Microsoft 365 and Azure licenses. However, customers utilizing either of these services can opt to purchase P1 or P2 versions of Azure AD to receive supplementary features and benefits.

In this section, we will be discussing the available licensing options for Azure Active Directory.

Note: There is also a “Pay as you go” model for Azure Active Directory, where you only pay for the services and the number of hours you’ll be using the services for.

Azure AD Free

The free version of Microsoft Azure Active Directory is a powerful tool that comes with a subscription to various online services such as Azure, Dynamics 365, Intune, and Power Platform. It offers a range of features to manage identity and access for up to 500,000 directory objects. Additionally, users can register their devices and distribute up to 10 apps per user. The basic version also allows businesses to invite guest users who are not part of their organization.

The Azure AD Free edition offers advanced functionalities such as Federated Authentication, Basic security, and usage reports. As a cloud user, you have the ability to change passwords, authenticate in the cloud, synchronize your on-premises Active Directory to Azure AD, and utilize multi-factor authentication. This allows you to secure your organization’s data and ensure that your users have access to the resources they need.

With Azure AD Free, you can manage your users’ identities and access across different applications and services. This enables you to create a seamless experience for your users, making it easier for them to access the resources they need. Additionally, Azure AD Free provides you with usage reports that help you understand how your users are interacting with your applications and services.

Go to the Azure Active Directory page to learn more about the features and prices.

Azure AD Basic

The Azure AD Basic edition offers businesses an upgrade from the Free plan at a nominal cost of $1 per user per month. This edition provides everything available in the Free plan, including device registration, identity management features, and unlimited directory objects.

In addition to these features, the Azure AD Basic edition offers advanced functionalities, such as the ability to customize login pages to align with your organization’s branding. Moreover, you can enjoy a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Microsoft, which guarantees a certain level of service availability.

The Azure AD Basic edition also provides a “Do It Yourself” password reset feature, which allows users to reset their passwords without needing to contact support, thereby reducing support costs and increasing productivity. This feature can be customized to suit the specific requirements of your organization.

Azure AD Premium 1 (P1)

Modern organizations require advanced solutions to manage the complex identity and access management needs of their hybrid environments. Azure Active Directory Premium P1 is a robust edition of Azure Active Directory that addresses this challenge by offering a wide range of advanced features.

At a monthly cost of $6 per user per month, this premium edition provides organizations with comprehensive tools to efficiently manage user identities and access resources, whether they are located on-premises or in the cloud.

With Azure Active Directory Premium P1, organizations can easily manage user identities and access to resources, regardless of whether they are located on-premises or in the cloud. The edition provides comprehensive tools for information workers and identity administrators operating in hybrid environments, including advanced application access, self-service identity, and access management, and robust cloud security.

The advanced features of Azure Active Directory Premium P1 enable organizations to securely manage access to cloud-based applications and resources. This edition offers comprehensive tools for information workers, including self-service password reset, multi-factor authentication, and access to a wide range of pre-integrated applications.

Additionally, identity administrators can benefit from a wide range of powerful features, including privileged identity management, group-based access management, and conditional access policies. These features enable organizations to secure their resources and protect sensitive data against unauthorized access.

Azure AD Premium 2 (P2)

For organizations that require advanced identity and access management capabilities, Azure Active Directory Premium P2 is an excellent choice. With a starting price of $9 per user per month, this edition offers all the features available in the P1 edition and takes things to the next level.

Besides the enhanced identity protection and privileged identity management capabilities, users can also benefit from access reviews that help ensure resources are being accessed only by authorized individuals. This powerful edition is the perfect choice for organizations that prioritize security and compliance.

Who Needs Azure Active Directory

As an organization grows, so does the complexity of managing user identities, access to resources, and security policies. This is where Azure Active Directory (AD) comes into play. As mentioned earlier, this cloud-based identity and access management solution simplifies these tasks and provides a secure way to manage your organization’s identity infrastructure.

But who exactly is Azure AD suitable for? In this section, we’ll explore the different types of businesses and scenarios where Azure AD can be the ideal solution for managing identities and securing access to your organization’s resources.

  • IT Administrators

    Imagine a team of tech wizards who have the power to wield the forces of Azure Active Directory. They are the IT Admins, the gatekeepers of user accounts, groups, and security settings in the realm of Azure.

    These IT administrators are the ones who configure the nuts and bolts of Azure AD, making sure that everything runs smoothly and securely. They are the ones who set up the safeguards like multi-factor authentication and external access permissions to protect your data from cyber threats.

    And who is the leader of this band of superheroes? The Global Administrator, the mastermind who created the Azure tenant and holds the keys to the kingdom. But fear not, for they can add more administrators to their ranks to help them in their quest to protect and manage your organization’s data.

    So, the next time you log into your Azure account, remember the brave souls behind the scenes who keep your data safe and secure – the IT Admins.

  • App Developers

    With Azure Active Directory (AD) APIs at their fingertips, developers can seamlessly integrate their apps with a user’s Azure AD credentials, providing a seamless experience that fits the user’s unique identity.

    These APIs give app developers the power to create customized app experiences based on the organization’s data, making it easier to manage access and identities for both administrators and end-users. By leveraging Azure AD, app developers can tap into a secure and scalable identity platform, providing their users with a seamless and secure app experience.

  • Regular Users

    For everyday users, logging into different apps and services can be a hassle. Remembering a plethora of usernames and passwords can be a daunting task, and it’s not uncommon to forget them altogether. This is where Azure Active Directory (AD) comes to the rescue.

    By using Azure AD credentials to log in to apps, users can enjoy a seamless, single sign-on experience across multiple apps and services. Azure AD simplifies the login process and ensures secure access to apps and services, making life easier for regular users.

    With just one set of credentials, users can access multiple apps and services effortlessly, without having to remember numerous usernames and passwords.


In today’s fast-paced business world, time is a precious commodity, and simplifying tasks can make all the difference. This is where Azure Active Directory (AD) comes in, revolutionizing the way businesses manage user identities and access to resources.

With its powerful features and customizable plans, Azure AD provides businesses with the flexibility and control they need to manage their users effectively. The Basic and Premium plans offer different levels of security and functionality, catering to the unique needs of each business.

Azure AD Basic provides a solid foundation for businesses looking to take the first step toward cloud identity management. However, for businesses that require advanced security features, the Azure AD Premium plan is the way to go.

The benefits of using Azure AD are clear. By streamlining identity management and providing a secure and reliable solution, businesses can focus on what really matters – their core operations. With Azure AD, businesses can rest easy knowing that their data and user identities are protected, while users can enjoy a seamless and hassle-free experience accessing the resources they need.

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