The first obvious difference between cloud and local AD is, one is local hardware on the office network and cloud is stored on remote hardware and accessed via the internet. There are a few similarities, like the ability to manage users and access permissions easily from one space or the ability to setup single sign-on which allows users to sign in once on the PC and all their applications stay signed in. Both services integrate with applications for ease of use and data syncing.
Security is where Cloud AD takes a larger leap forward. The ability to use multi-factor authentication built-in is a must in the new way many businesses work. Another great feature for Cloud AD is conditional access, this feature allows organizations to define access policies based on various conditions, such as user location, device health, or login risk. It helps ensure that access is granted only to trusted devices and locations, further enhancing security. Cloud AD provides tools to detect and respond to identity-related risks and threats. It can detect suspicious activities, such as login attempts from unfamiliar locations, and automatically take action to protect the account.
When building out a new network for your business cloud AD should be your focus unless you have a very specific reason to be local. The advantages of cloud hosted out-weigh local hosted AD very much and this technology has just started to evolve, in ten years newer innovations will be available and most businesses won’t be able to live without the cloud. Also, from a managed service provider perspective, cloud AD is so much easier to manage day-to-day. With local AD I have to ensure I’m able to access the local network to make any changes, but the cloud AD is always available, and any changes will post as soon as the asset appears online.
Another big advantage of Cloud AD is that it can easily grow with your business. With Local AD, you must handle the hardware and servers yourself, which can be difficult if your company gets bigger. But with Cloud AD, the service provider takes care of all that, so you don’t have to worry about it. It can handle more users and resources without you having to buy more hardware. Also, Cloud AD lets your employees access their stuff from anywhere, which is great for remote work and makes it easier for everyone to work together. It’s a cost-effective and convenient solution that can adapt to your business as it changes and grows.On the next episode I’m going to do a refresher on zero trust policy.