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Microsoft Entra – the new home for identity and access solutions

by Helen J. Wolf
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Microsoft has unveiled its new identity and access solutions product called Microsoft Entra.

The company says identity isn’t just about directories, and access isn’t just about the network. Security challenges have become much broader, so broader solutions are needed.

But keeping it simple is also crucial. Microsoft says organizations don’t want to deal with incomplete and disjointed solutions that only solve part of the problem, work in only a subset of environments, and need duct tape and chewing gum to work together.

Microsoft says businesses need access decisions to be as granular as possible and automatically adjust based on real-time risk assessment. And they need it everywhere: on-premises, Azure AD, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, apps, websites, devices, and beyond.

Microsoft Entra - the new home for identity and access solutions

The company says Microsoft Entra will authenticate all identities and secure, manage, and control their access to any resource. It states that the new product family:

Protect access to any app or resource for any user. Secure and authenticate any identity in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Discover and manage permissions in multi-cloud environments. Simplify the user experience with real-time intelligent access decisions.

Microsoft says well-known products such as Microsoft Azure AD and Azure AD External Identities will now fall under Microsoft Entra, but there are also completely new solutions.

Microsoft Entra Permissions Management

With its acquisition of CloudKnox Security last year, Microsoft says it is now the first major cloud provider to offer a CIEM solution. Permissions Manager provides comprehensive visibility into permissions across all identities (user and workload), actions, and resources across multi-cloud infrastructures.

Microsoft says the new solution will help detect, resize, and monitor unused and excessive permissions and reduce the risk of data breaches by eliminating the principle of least privilege in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform to force. This standalone offering will be generally available globally in July 2022 and integrated into the Microsoft Defender for Cloud dashboard, extending the protection of Defender for Cloud with CIEM.

Microsoft Entra Verified ID

Microsoft says Verified ID implements industry standards that enable portable, proprietary, decentralized identity. Rather than granting broad consent to countless apps and services and distributing identity data across numerous carriers, Verified ID empowers individuals and organizations to decide what information to share, when to share it, with whom to share it, and if necessary, back. The company says Verified ID will generally be available in early August 2022.

Identity Management

Microsoft says it is a huge challenge for IT and security teams regarding new users and guest accounts. It says new employees often experience a slow rise to full effectiveness as they wait for the access necessary for their job. The company says similar delays in providing essential access to guest users undermine a well-functioning supply chain. Without formal or automated processes for re-provisioning or deactivating people’s accounts, their access rights can be preserved when they change roles or leave the organization.

Microsoft says Identity Governance addresses this with identity lifecycle management, simplifying user onboarding and offboarding processes. Lifecycle workflows automate assigning and managing access rights and monitoring and tracking access as user attributes change. Lifecycle workflows in Identity Governance will be in public preview in July 2022.

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