Question

Why should businesses secure an Active Directory?

Answer
By Kaushik Pal | Last updated: March 25, 2021

Active Directory is widely used across various applications to store and secure user information. Therefore, it is very important to understand how to maintain a safe, secured, well-monitored and optimized Active Directory.

Active Directory setup is a complex process. So, after implementing an Active Directory, it is important to monitor changes carefully to prevent business disruptions and security issues.

Some of the key points which drive organizations to secure their Active Directory include:

  • Preventing initial breach: An initial breach starts with the compromise of a small piece of information. Then it gradually spreads the vulnerabilities across the network. Proper antivirus, patch updates, latest configuration and OS can prevent this.
  • Stopping credential theft: Credential theft is a critical issue for most organizations. It exposes confidential system details to the outside world and it can seriously damage a business.
  • Preventing malware injection: Attackers often inject malware into an Active Directory through network access. This malware damages the system and hampers business.
  • Preventing data access and exfiltration: Attackers often try to access business data from critical applications. To do so, they try to get a foothold in the Active Directory and then access other applications.

The following are some methods of securing an Active Directory:

  • Maintaining Active Directory documentation: To keep Active Directory secured, documentation plays an important role. All the activities, key safety policies, new user addition, and naming conventions should be clearly documented.
  • Administrative control: Administrative access should be restricted to genuine users only. Different administrative groups can be formed for specific operations. Proper alert mechanisms must be implemented to detect any access violation.
  • Password protection: Passwords should be created with strong rules. The password policies must be strict and complex.
  • Setting up Group Policies: Group Policy is one efficient way of securing an Active Directory environment. The safety of the Group Policy must be monitored on a regular basis.
  • Audit Trail: An audit trail is a must for tracking changes at any level. It should capture all activities performed by all users.
  • Monitoring Active Directory: There are multiple tools available on the market for monitoring Active Directory. Some of these tools (as per requirement) must be used to monitor Active Directory changes/modifications/updates. It is a live monitoring process to immediately detect any threats.

Active Directory is critical for business applications. Therefore, organizations should take proper steps to protect it and keep their business safe and secure.

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Written by Kaushik Pal | Contributor

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Kaushik is a technical architect and software consultant, having over 20 years of experience in software analysis, development, architecture, design, testing and training industry. He has an interest in new technology and innovation areas. He focuses on web architecture, web technologies, Java/J2EE, open source, WebRTC, big data and semantic technologies. Kaushik is also the founder of TechAlpine, a technology blog/consultancy firm based in Kolkata. The team at TechAlpine works for different clients in India and abroad. The team has expertise in Java/J2EE/open source/web/WebRTC/Hadoop/big data technologies and technical writing.

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