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Microsoft announces expansion into SSE and innovations in the Microsoft Entra portfolio

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In May 2022, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Entra, a product lineup that included Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Microsoft Entra Permissions Management, and Microsoft Entra Verified ID. Over time, the Microsoft Entra family expanded to include Microsoft Entra ID Governance and Microsoft Entra Workload ID. Now, Microsoft is going the extra mile to assist organizations in safeguarding their constantly changing digital assets.

To make access security easier, it has introduced two new products: Microsoft Entra Internet Access and Microsoft Entra Private Access. These products enable organizations to establish trust not just in their digital experiences and services, but also in every digital interaction that supports them.

Secure access with Microsoft Entra

The Security Service Edge (SSE) solution from Microsoft consists of Internet Access, Private Access, and Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps.

Microsoft Entra SSE

Image source: Microsoft

Microsoft Entra Internet Access is a Secure Web Gateway offered by Microsoft that focuses on protecting access to the internet, software as a service (SaaS), and Microsoft 365 apps and resources. It employs Conditional Access policies with network conditions to safeguard against harmful internet traffic and other threats.

For Microsoft 365 environments, it provides top-notch security measures and improved visibility. Additionally, it enhances the accessibility of Microsoft 365 apps, resulting in increased productivity for users regardless of their location.

Currently, Microsoft Entra Internet Access offers preview versions of Microsoft 365 scenarios. Users can sign up for the preview and experience the capabilities for managing internet traffic, as well as accessing software as a service (SaaS) applications and resources. These capabilities will be made available to users later in the year.

Microsoft Entra Private Access is a Zero Trust Network Access solution provided by Microsoft, which prioritizes secure access to private applications and resources. It allows users, regardless of their location, to connect to private apps across various environments such as hybrid and multicloud setups, private networks, and data centers.

It ensures compatibility with any device and network, providing convenience and flexibility. Currently in preview, Microsoft Entra Private Access simplifies operations and reduces costs by replacing outdated VPNs. It offers enhanced security with the ability to apply Conditional Access to individual applications and enforce multifactor authentication, device compliance, and other controls without requiring modifications to legacy applications.

Pricing information for Microsoft Entra Internet Access and Microsoft Entra Private Access will be disclosed once they are generally available.

Microsoft Azure AD becomes Microsoft Entra ID

To streamline product naming and create a cohesive product family, Microsoft is changing the name of Azure AD to Microsoft Entra ID. This name change does not impact capabilities, licensing plans, sign-in URLs, or APIs. Existing deployments, configurations, and integrations will continue to function as before. Users will start seeing notifications about this name change in the administrator portal, on Microsoft’s websites, documentation, and other relevant platforms. The transition from Azure AD to Microsoft Entra ID will be completed by the end of 2023.

Other innovations in Microsoft Entra

Updates to prevent identity takeover attacks

Microsoft Entra ID Protection (Azure AD Identity Protection) has undergone several significant updates to enhance its capabilities in preventing account compromise. Instead of relying on outdated data, the new ID Protection leverages advanced machine learning techniques to proactively identify and respond to sign-in anomalies and abnormal user behavior. This allows for real-time blocking, challenging, or limiting of access to mitigate potential risks.

One notable addition is the introduction of a comprehensive dashboard that provides organizations with a clear overview of the effectiveness of their deployed identity protections. The dashboard presents informative metric cards and attack graphs, offering insights into prevented identity attacks and the most common attack patterns. Users can gain visibility into risk origins, monitor security posture over time, identify current attack types, and receive recommendations based on risk exposure. Furthermore, the dashboard highlights the business impact of enforced controls.

These insights empower organizations to delve deeper into their security posture by utilizing additional tools and applications, leading to more informed decision-making and enhanced recommendations.

Automation of access governance

Microsoft Entra ID Governance is a complete identity governance solution that helps organizations comply with security requirements and increase employee productivity. It automates the employee identity lifecycle, provides machine learning-based insights, and scales to complex cloud and hybrid environments. ID Governance is available as a cloud-delivered solution and supports cloud and on-premises apps from any provider. Global system integrator partners started helping with the planning and deployment of ID Governance on July 1, 2023.

Personalizing access for customers and partners

Microsoft Entra External ID is a developer-centric identity solution for external users. It offers rich customization options, Conditional Access, identity protection, and support for social identity providers. Developers can use comprehensive developer tools to create personalized sign-in and sign-up experiences for their applications within minutes.

Microsoft has introduced new developer-centric features for Microsoft Entra External ID, which are currently available for preview. External ID is an integrated identity solution designed for external users, such as customers, patients, citizens, guests, partners, and suppliers. This solution provides extensive customization capabilities, along with support for Conditional Access, identity protection, and integration with social identity providers.

With the help of Microsoft’s developer tools, even developers with limited identity experience can easily create personalized sign-in and sign-up experiences for their applications in a matter of minutes.

Know more about the Microsoft Entra portfolio here.

Read next: Microsoft leads the way as global public cloud revenue skyrockets by 22.9%, crossing $500 billion – IDC

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