Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory is rapidly becoming heavily utilized in large enterprises. Offered along with an Office 365 subscription, Azure Active Directory gives you access to thousands of SaaS applications like Salesforce.com or Box with a single sign-on.
What is “Cloud App Discovery”?
We already know the free version of Azure AD makes life easier and cuts costs from both users and providers. However, there is much more you can do with it than just that if you’re willing to cough up some more pocket change. After upgrading to either the basic or premium version of Azure AD, you gain access to the “cloud discovery” function.
Microsoft created this function to alleviate one central problem the majority of companies today are facing – the inability to integrate their corporate identity with the cloud service they are currently using. Cloud app discovery does this by allowing the corporations to directly manage the cloud services with their internal IT team.
As the first step, companies must first know everything about the cloud services they’re currently using, hence the “discovery” label. Azure AD cloud app discovery outputs a dashboard for the user that includes information on what services are being used, how much is being used, who’s using this, and who’s managing it all. This information is usually hard to get in a reliable fashion, if you can get it at all.
Once you get inside the AD cloud app discovery dashboard you can do quite a few things:
- Export the data into your favorite data analysis tool
- Set controls to what you’d like to collect data on
- Sort data to prioritize what you want to view
- Set a specific app under your team’s IT control
Well, this sounds like a dream come true for IT staff handling cloud security. But speaking of security…
How secure is Azure AD Cloud App Discovery?
According to Microsoft, much more secure than traditional methods of managing cloud services. This is because Microsoft removes the risk of having a high-value target hacked, like an admin with complete permissions.
To accomplish this, Microsoft automatically tracks who has the access codes and monitors their activity constantly while restricting the time they have to access the dashboard. So no more undetected intruders, and no more unlimited access for one-time intruder.
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