Azure Active Directory also authenticates Facebook and Google clients

Now, on Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory identity management platform, companies will be able to authenticate their customers logging in from consumer apps like Facebook and Google.

Announced yesterday, the Facebook and Google account authentication feature on Azure Active Directory will allow companies to use Microsoft’s cloud platform to verify the identity of their customers and that of their partners. “Having a secure platform for verifying identity from consumer apps is critical for businesses. It helps them maintain trust, customer satisfaction and loyalty,” Microsoft corporate vice president Brad Anderson said in a blog post. As an example, the Redmond publisher revealed that the Real Madrid club had been one of the service’s private beta testers and had used it to allow their fans to identify themselves on the Internet. Spanish football team’s mobile app by logging in with their Facebook credentials.

Also yesterday, Microsoft announced a feature called Active Directory B2B Collaboration that allows the platform to authenticate business partners. “With this new tool, Azure AD subscribers have the ability to establish trust relationships with each other. Companies can thus easily share their business applications, without having to manage additional directories or solve the thorny question of managing the identities of their partners”, indicates another blog presenting the functionality. These two functions are available since yesterday in public preview. Microsoft hasn’t announced pricing for these tools yet, but the vendor said they will be billed on a per-use basis. The first 50,000 customer identities are free and additional authentications cost “a fraction of a penny” per identity.

Recently, Gartner included Azure AD in its Magic Quadrant: the research firm considered Microsoft’s platform, which allows companies to verify the identity of their employees, to be one of the best on the market. According to Microsoft, 6 million customers use its cloud-based SaaS service.

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