Organizations are transforming how they operate in a digital world. This means seizing new opportunities quickly, reinventing business processes, and delivering greater value to customers. More important than ever are the strong and trusted relationships with the whole ecosystem in which an organization operates. This includes business partners, contractors, and of course customers. While business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions may be different, sustaining both requires information security combined with intuitive user experiences.
As your network of B2B and B2C connections grows online, securing them across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid scenarios becomes more of a challenge. A secure identity platform is critical to support this growth and to enable digital business securely. With this goal in mind, today we announce two important extensions in the capability of Microsoft Azure Active Directory.
Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration now generally available
Businesses are increasingly dispersed, mobile, and collaborative, relying on wide range of vendors, partners, and contractors to stay nimble and capitalize on changing markets. Azure Active Directory (AD) is the foundation of our identity-driven approach to security and extends beyond your own employees to secure the identities of external collaborators—partners, contractors, and vendors. Our goal is to make it easy and secure to collaborate with the employees of any organization. Azure AD B2B collaboration is generally available today and is part of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).
B2B collaboration provides external user accounts with secure access to documents, resources, and applications—while maintaining control over internal data. There’s no need to add external users to your directory, sync them, or manage their lifecycle; IT can invite collaborators to use any email address—Office 365, on-premises Microsoft Exchange, or even a personal address (Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.)—and even set up conditional access policies, including multi-factor authentication. Your developers can use the Azure AD B2B APIs to write applications that bring together different organizations in a secure way—and deliver a seamless and intuitive end user experience.
Millions of users from thousands of businesses have already been using Azure AD B2B collaboration capabilities available through public preview.
“As early adopters of Azure AD B2B collaboration, we used this service to provide a simple and secure way for partners, large and small, to use their own credentials to access Kodak Alaris systems. The latest enhancements are interesting, and we plan to use the “invitation manager API” in our Partner Relationship Management portal for a more customized guest onboarding/provisioning experience. The Azure AD team has been an incredible partner in our re-creation of a more agile and cost-effective hybrid cloud IT infrastructure.” Steve Braunschweiger, Chief Enterprise IT Architect Kodak Alaris
Here’s how you can get started with Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration:
- Watch this Mechanics Video to see the benefits of cloud-based B2B identity and access management
- Read more details from the Azure AD B2B team blog
- Get started with Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration
Azure Active Directory B2C now available in Europe
Another important audience within most enterprise ecosystems are the customers who trust your business with their own sensitive personal and financial information. Azure Active Directory B2C enables organizations to securely connect with their customers at scale. Today, Azure AD B2C is generally available in Europe. Azure AD B2C is a highly available, global identity and access management service for your consumer-facing applications. It scales to hundreds of millions of protected identities, integrates easily with nearly any platform on any device, and includes optional multi-factor authentication for additional protection. Your consumers will be able to use existing social media accounts or create new credentials for single sign-on access to your applications through a fully customizable experience.
Organizations now have the option to use Azure AD B2C tenants that operate and store data only in European datacenters. For all other regions, Azure AD B2C is available through the North American or European datacenters.
Here’s how you can get started with Azure Active Directory B2C:
- Watch this video to see the benefits of cloud-based consumer identity and access management
- Read more details from the Azure AD B2C team blog
- Get started with Azure AD B2C in your consumer app
As companies adopt a cloud-first position to take advantage of increased agility and faster innovation, like B2B and B2C, we recognize that cloud-first doesn’t mean cloud-only. As we announced today, we make it easy for customers to maximize their existing investments to adopt cloud. A hybrid approach is a strategic plan for businesses financially, for security, and for their identities and applications.