Microsoft has been on a roll lately, in terms of packaging up a group of products into a newly branded suite. (See the ever-expanding Microsoft Defender family, the Microsoft Priva privacy-management suite and the Microsoft Purview compliance and governance brand for the latest examples.) On May 31, the company did it again with a suite of identity and access products it has christened "Microsoft Entra."
Microsoft's contention is managing digital access is not straightforward because it's impossible for organizations to plan ahead for all the access scenarios that can happen across an organization and its third-party suppliers, who maintain devices outside of a company's security perimeter. That's where Entra is meant to fit in.
Entra is designed to provide identity and access management, cloud-infrastructure management and identity verification. It will work on-premises, across Azure, AWS, Google Cloud and across Microsoft and third-party apps, websites and devices.
"Now that people are doing zero trust, how do they wire in partners, distribution channels and more in a multi-cloud way?" said Alex Simons, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of PM, Identity and Network Access. Identity needs to be at the center of this, he said -- and not just for verifying people, but also devices, IoT and across the whole virtual supply chain.
Simons said Microsoft chose the name "Entra" because "it indicates an entry-way to new world of doing business." It's not meant to be a gate with restrictive access, he added.
Microsoft is making Entra, and a new admin portal associated with it, available today. In terms of pricing, customers who want Entra will continue to pay per user per month for Azure AD; per active user per month for external identities; and per resource for permissions, Simons said. Verified ID is part of the base Azure AD paid platform, but a set of paid services that will run on top of it will be added at some point in the future, he said.