Active Directory (AD) is a directory service developed by Microsoft for Windows domain networks. It is included in most Windows Server operating systems as a set of processes and services. Initially, Active Directory was only in charge of centralized domain management. However, Active Directory became an umbrella title for a broad range of directory-based identity-related services.
A server running the Active Directory Domain Service (AD DS) role is called a domain controller. It authenticates and authorizes all users and computers in a Windows domain type network. Assigning and enforcing security policies for all computers and installing or updating software. For example, when a user logs into a computer that is part of a Windows domain, Active Directory checks the submitted password and determines whether the user is a system administrator or normal user. Also, it allows management and storage of information, provides authentication and authorization mechanisms, and establishes a framework to deploy other related services: Certificate Services, Active Directory Federation Services, Lightweight Directory Services, and Rights Management Services.
Top 3 major benefits of Active Directory Domain Services are:
Active Directory simplifies resource location by allowing files and print resources to be published on the network. Publishing an object allows users to securely access network resources by searching the Active Directory database for the desired resource.
This search can be based on the resource’s name, description, or location. For example, a shared folder can be found by clicking the appropriate search button using Network in Windows 10 or Microsoft Windows Server 2012.
A user can configure the search scope. The shared folder name and keyword do not need to be search criteria. Providing more search information creates more specific results. For example, if you have configured the word “accounting” as a keyword for 100 folders, a search for the keyword will return 100 results that a user would need to sort through to find the desired folder.
Imagine you are a user in a 10 server environment, where every server has a different set of resources that you need to do your job. If you were in this situation, identifying which server provides each resource would not be an easy task. This is even more complicated when you have mobile users, such as an employee visiting from another site who needs to locate printers and other devices to become productive at the new site.
Active Directory provides a single point of management for network resources. Active Directory uses a single sign-on to allow access to network resources located on any server within the domain.
The user is identified and authenticated by Active Directory once. After this process is complete, the user signs on once to access the network resources that are authorized for, according to his or her assigned roles and privileges within Active Directory.
This is the main benefits of Active Directory. Active Directory provides a single point from which administrators can manage and secure network resources and their associated security objects. An organization can administer Active Directory based on an organizational model, a business model, or the types of functions being administered.
For example, an organization could choose to administer Active Directory by logically dividing the users according to the departments in which they work, their geographical location, or a combination of these characteristics.
Active Directory can streamline the security management of all network resources and extend interoperability with a wide range of applications and devices. When Active Directory is implemented and secured properly, it allows the administer to effective implement a company’s policy and procedures for cyber security, network services, and resources at a detailed level.