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.

At one time I had five blaring servers running in my living room. As I learned about cloud-based technology that would stifle those da*n things and gain my space back, I started making changes to my absurd situation. Now I’m 100% cloud-based and love it. I am free and I have peace of mind.

And my data is my data. Period. I might pay for the service to have it housed, but it’s mine and I know it’s safe. It’s also nice to know that my data is encrypted both in transit and at rest as it travels back and forth between my MacBook and the data center.

If the power goes out, then I continue to work on my battery-powered laptop with my battery-powered mobile hotspot for Internet access and my battery-powered iPhone for voice communications. The data center remains unaffected wherever it is – all I know is that my data center is in the US because that was a choice when setting up my #Office365 account. My Quickbooks financial data is also in the US. My website resides in the US. I could go on and on to list all of my online services, but these services perform reliably and in unison without noisy, dirty, expensive and risky equipment.

I’m no longer bound to the world of one business operating system. I can use any Internet-connected device whether Windows, Mac, iOs or Android. If a device fails, becomes lost or is stolen, then it’s as easy as replacing the device and logging back in with my passwords. Done.

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