Microsoft's Azure Active Directory identity management platform now allows businesses to authenticate customers using popular consumer applications, such as Facebook and Google's suite of services.
Research firm Gartner's recent Magic Quadrant named Azure AD one of the leading products for businesses to verify the identity of their employees; Microsoft says 6 million customers use the cloud-based SaaS.
Today Microsoft announced new functionality so businesses can verify the identity of customers and partners in addition to their own employees.
"Providing a secure identity platform to underpin your consumer-facing apps is a fundamental part of maintaining customer trust, satisfaction, and retention," says Microsoft corporate Vice President Brad Anderson in a blog post announcing the new features. As an example, Microsoft said the Real Madrid sports team has been a private beta tester of the service and has used it to allow fans to sign into the team's mobile app via a Facebook login.
Microsoft also today announced Active Directory B2B Collaboration. This feature allows the identity management platform to authenticate a company's partners. "These new capabilities make it easy for organizations to create advanced trust relationships between Azure AD tenants so they can easily share business applications across companies without the hassle of managing additional directories or the overhead of managing partner identities," a blog post describing the new functionality states.
Both new features are available today in public preview. Microsoft did not announce specific pricing, but said it is billed on a pay-per-use basis. The first 50,000 consumer identities are free and additional authentications are "a fraction of a cent" per stored identity.
This story, "Microsoft extends Azure Active Directory to support Facebook, Google " was originally published by Network World.