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Hybrid active directory

(also hybrid AD, hybrid directory services)

Hybrid active directory definition

A hybrid active directory (AD) is a combination of on-premises AD and cloud-based Azure AD, used to manage and authenticate users, devices, and resources across both environments. Hybrid AD enables organizations to maintain their existing on-premises infrastructure while leveraging the benefits of cloud services, providing a seamless experience and centralized control for IT administrators.

Hybrid active directory examples

  • Single sign-on (SSO): Hybrid AD enables users to access both on-premises and cloud-based resources with a single set of credentials, simplifying the authentication process and improving user experience.
  • Conditional access: Hybrid AD allows organizations to define and enforce access policies based on user, device, and resource attributes, ensuring secure access to sensitive data and applications.
  • Device management: Hybrid AD enables IT administrators to manage devices across on-premises and cloud environments, streamlining device enrollment, configuration, and compliance monitoring.

Pros and cons of an hybrid active directory


  • Simplified user authentication with SSO.
  • Centralized control for IT administrators.
  • Seamless integration with existing infrastructure.


  • Increased complexity due to managing two environments.
  • Potential security risks if not configured properly.

Tips for using a hybrid active directory

  • Ensure proper configuration and synchronization between on-premises AD and Azure AD to prevent authentication issues.
  • Use Azure AD Connect to synchronize user accounts, passwords, and groups between on-premises AD and Azure AD.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security.