The screenshot above was taken from the Enterprise Mobility + Security section of Microsoft’s website.

But there’s something distinctly missing from this picture: Where are the servers of yore, such as Windows Server 2016? Answer: In the cloud, specifically within the Azure cloud platform.

This is a change in IT culture that reflects societal changes, such as Millenials becoming the predominant force in the workplace. Millenials and others (like us hippies, err, Baby Boomers) want the freedom to work from anywhere, especially now that those Baby Boomers have transformed into Snow Birds, yet still remain active in their business or career.

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), not to be confused with Azure, the overall cloud platform, or Active Directory, the directory service that Microsoft developed for Windows domain-based networks, will eventually take a front seat in identity management by leveraging its web-based nature. And Azure AD extends into other Office 365 functions, such as single sign-on (SSO) access and cloud-based security that we find in Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Each Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online tenant is actually an Azure AD tenant.

Even larger enterprises are recognizing the value of security. Here’s a case study describing how Hearst Communications has changed with the times by turning to Azure AD and EMS.

In short, we’re going to see fewer instances of and more Azure AD, especially for smaller businesses in the SMB range. The funny thing is, you’re likely already using Azure AD if you use Office 365 or even a Hotmail account.