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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Buxton

Microsoft's Identity Revolution: From Azure Active Directory to Microsoft Entra ID

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

In the world of technology, change is the only constant. Microsoft, ever-evolving and in-tune with market needs, has taken a leap in redefining its identity and network access products. Say goodbye to the familiar "Azure Active Directory" and welcome "Microsoft Entra ID".

A Deep Dive into the Name Change

Why Microsoft Entra?

Azure AD has grown in features over time. At launch it was a basic identity and access management solution that supported user and group management, and sign-in. Fast-forward to today and we have MFA, Conditional Access, External Identities, PIM, Identity Governance and more!

"Microsoft Entra" is the new name of Microsoft's family of identity and network access products. Azure Active Directory has now been renamed to Microsoft Entra ID and can be considered a core product in the Entra family.

Microsoft has also moved into providing secure network access solutions and simultaneously announced two new products with the Entra brand launch: Entra Internet Access and Entra Private Access.

All up there are eight Entra products in the new family.

Why change at all?

There are a few reasons why Microsoft wanted to do this:

  • Clarifying Confusion: Numerous people confused Windows Server Active Directory Domain Services with Azure Active Directory. This change aims to clear up such misconceptions by creating a clear delineation between the two.

  • Unification: Microsoft Entra is the overarching name for a suite of identity and network access products. Microsoft Entra ID, as a core product in this suite, brings a more cohesive identity to the fore.

  • Multicloud and Multiplatform Functionality: The new name underscores the product's ability to function across various cloud platforms, showcasing its adaptability and breadth.

Terminology Translation Table Cheat Sheet

Wading through online sources, often with dubious levels of accuracy, to find out new names can be challenging! To help make life easier we created this handy translation table which was built directly from the official Microsoft glossary.

First up to note, the short name of AAD is now ME-ID.

Entra Product Family

Old Terminology

New Terminology

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)

Microsoft Entra ID

Azure AD External Identities

Microsoft Entra External ID

Azure AD Identity Governance

Microsoft Entra ID Governance

​Azure AD Verifiable Credentials

Microsoft Entra Verified ID

​Azure AD Workload Identities

Microsoft Entra Workload ID

Cloud Knox

Microsoft Entra Permissions Management


Microsoft Entra Internet Access


Microsoft Entra Private Access

SKUs and Service Plans

Old Terminology

New Terminology

Azure Active Directory Premium P1

Microsoft Entra ID P1

Azure Active Directory Premium P1 for government

Microsoft Entra ID P1 for government

Azure Active Directory Premium P2

Microsoft Entra ID P2

Azure Active Directory Free

Microsoft Entra ID Free

Features and Functionality

Old Terminology

New Terminology

Azure AD tenant

Microsoft Entra tenant

Azure AD domain

Microsoft Entra domain

Azure AD account

Microsoft Entra account

Azure AD login

Microsoft Entra login

Azure AD identities

Microsoft Entra identities

Azure AD hybrid identities

Microsoft Entra hybrid identities

Azure AD managed identities

Microsoft Entra managed identities

Azure AD cloud-only identities

Microsoft Entra cloud-only identities

Azure AD service principal

Microsoft Entra service principal

Azure AD principal ID

Microsoft Entra principal ID

Azure AD Conditional Access

Microsoft Entra Conditional Access

Azure AD authentication

Microsoft Entra authentication

Azure AD groups

Microsoft Entra groups

Azure AD admin

Microsoft Entra admin

Azure AD role

Microsoft Entra role

Azure AD built-in roles

Microsoft Entra built-in roles

Azure AD multifactor authentication (MFA)

Microsoft Entra multifactor authentication (MFA)

Azure AD enterprise application

Microsoft Entra enterprise application

Azure AD B2B

Microsoft Entra B2B

Azure AD Connect

Microsoft Entra Connect

Azure AD Connect Sync

Microsoft Entra Connect Sync

Azure AD join

Microsoft Entra join

Azure AD joined

Microsoft Entra joined

Azure AD registered

Microsoft Entra registered

Hybrid Azure AD Join

Microsoft Entra hybrid join

Hybrid Azure AD Joined

Microsoft Entra hybrid joined

Azure AD schema

Microsoft Entra schema

Azure AD Domain Services

Microsoft Entra Domain Services

Azure AD identity protection

Microsoft Entra ID Protection

Azure AD object

Microsoft Entra object

Azure AD password authentication

Microsoft Entra password authentication

Azure AD password protection

Microsoft Entra password protection

Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM)

Microsoft Entra Privileged Identity Management (PIM)

Azure AD self-service password reset (SSPR)

Microsoft Entra self-service password reset (SSPR)

Azure AD activity logs

Microsoft Entra activity logs

Azure AD application proxy

Microsoft Entra application proxy

Azure AD audit log

Microsoft Entra audit log

Azure AD OAuth and OpenID Connect

Microsoft Entra ID OAuth and OpenID Connect

Azure AD access token authentication

Microsoft Entra access token authentication

Azure AD pass-through authentication (PTA)

Microsoft Entra pass-through authentication

Azure AD password hash synchronization (PHS)

Microsoft Entra password hash synchronization

Azure AD Seamless single sign-on (SSO)

Microsoft Entra seamless single sign-on (SSO)

A couple of examples

To help bring this to life, here are some real-work usage examples:

What you used to say

What you should now say

"I'll create a user in Azure AD"

"I'll create a user in Microsoft Entra"

"Make sure it's hybrid Azure AD Joined"

"Make sure it's Microsoft Entra hybrid joined"

"Are they Federated with Azure AD?"

"Are they Federated with Microsoft Entra?"

Final Thoughts

The introduction of the Entra product family umbrella suggests that Microsoft is very serious about gaining market position in the identity and network access space. The new product names, once everyone gets the hang of them, make for cleaner delineations of individual product capabilities within the Entra family.

Contact us now to learn more about our Identity Management and Access Control solutions and take control of your organisation's security.



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