Office 365 and Azure Active Directory Premium

By Neil Hobson on

Office 365 and Azure Active Directory Premium

Azure Active Directory is Microsoft’s cloud-based identity management service and is used by Microsoft cloud services such as Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365.  It is available in four different editions: Free, Basic, Premium P1 and Premium P2.  The Basic, Premium P1 and Premium P2 editions offer enhanced paid-for capabilities as detailed in the Azure Active Directory pricing page.  If you have subscribed to Office 365, you can also choose to purchase a Basic, Premium P1 or Premium P2 subscription to take advantage of their enhanced capabilities.  Understanding these enhanced paid-for capabilities, their features and their relevance to you is therefore important.

Image: Screen shot of Azure Active Directory menu

Are there Office 365 considerations?

The decision to purchase an Azure Active Directory Premium subscription should involve consideration of all available enhanced capabilities.  For example, self-service password reset with on-premises writeback may be a feature that interests you.  It is also helpful to understand those features that require an Azure Active Directory Premium subscription that either directly affect, or can provide benefits for, your Office 365 deployment.

If you are using Office 365 with federated identities via Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) for example, you may be interested in the Azure AD Connect Health feature that monitors your ADFS infrastructure and provides insights into performance and usage data.  Understanding which Office 365 products, services or features require Azure Active Directory Premium is an ongoing process as Office 365 evolves so keeping an eye on resources such as the Office 365 roadmap and Office blog is recommended.  This can be further complicated in that Microsoft sometimes states in its blog postings that some features require an Azure Active Directory Premium during the preview program, but that this may change when that feature is made generally available.  An example of this is Azure Active Directory group-based licensing.


How does Azure Active Directory Premium affect Office 365 Groups?

Office 365 Groups is the underpinning service for the collaborative capabilities of Office 365.  The recent announcement from Microsoft of the new Office 365 Groups expiration policy was welcomed as this functionality enhances the Office 365 Groups lifecycle experience.  Towards the end of this announcement, Microsoft states “Please note that this feature will require Azure AD Premium when it GAs”.  By “GAs”, Microsoft refers to the time when this feature reaches the Generally Available status, where a new product, service or feature is made available to all Office 365 tenancies.

Image: Offcie 365 Groups expiry admin screen

Aside from the expiration policy feature, many other features related to Office 365 Groups require an Azure Active Directory Premium subscription.  For example, in its ‘What’s new in Office 365 Groups for April 2017’ blog post, Microsoft states that the following Office 365 Groups features require Azure Active Directory Premium:

  • Data classification
  • Usage guidelines
  • Azure AD Connect group writeback
  • Dynamic membership
  • Azure AD naming policy

Given the importance of Office 365 Groups for collaboration, it’s key that you evaluate these features and their Azure Active Directory Premium requirement.


How can Silversands help?

At Silversands, we recognise that understanding the many features in Office 365 and Azure Active Directory together with their benefits, applicability and subscription requirements can be a daunting experience.  We have extensive experience with Office 365 and Azure Active Directory, and can assist you in making sense of the options available to you.  Use the attached form and someone will be in contact with you very soon.


Useful Links.

Azure Active Directory pricing

Office 365 roadmap


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