AD is a major target for attackers because it is important to authenticating users, access, and applications throughout an organization. If a cyber attacker gains access to the AD system, they can possibly get access to any associated user accounts, databases, applications, and data. By default, most domains allow only authenticated users to log on, which prevents unauthorized people from accessing information you do not want them to see.
One of the biggest advantages of using Active Directory is its role in providing single sign-on (SSO) for its domain members. When you use SSO, also known as mutual authentication, only one set of credentials is required to access multiple applications or services. This reduces the risk of password theft or loss because anyone who knows your username will be able to login to other websites or services that require a password.
Another advantage of using Active Directory is its support for group policy management. A group policy object (GPO) is a collection of settings that can be applied to computers in a local area network (LAN) at once. For example, a company may want to prevent employees from downloading movies onto their work computers. They can create a policy by selecting "Block this application" and then select which applications should be blocked. Then they can distribute the policy via AD using GPOs. Once a computer applies the policy, it blocks the selected application.
For most Windows-based businesses, AD remains the primary point of authentication. However, it has several flaws that need be corrected. For decades, Active Directory has managed permissions and access to network resources. 16 years ago, Microsoft introduced Windows 2000, which was the first version of Windows to remove administrative privileges from standard users. Since then, there have been many attempts to replace or supplement AD, but none have been able to match its popularity or functionality.
The reason for this is that nothing can replace the power of human knowledge. No matter how much technology advances, there will always be new problems to solve. For example, while it's easy to administer a domain with Windows Server 2008 R2, this task requires technical expertise to do properly. Even if you hire a professional AD administrator, they will run into issues that they cannot fix themselves. This is why even though Windows Server 2008 R2 is easier to manage, people are still using AD because it provides a better security solution.
As companies grow, so does their need for authentication. With AD, organizations can control who has access to what resources by managing user accounts. This allows security policies to be applied consistently across the network. There are two types of authentication: password based and something you know (such as a username and password). Passwords must be changed regularly (at least every 90 days) to prevent them from being stolen by hackers.
The Fundamentals of Active Directory AD contains information about network objects and their connections to one another (for example, users, groups, systems, networks, applications, digital assets, and many other entities). Administrators may use Active Directory to create users and allow them access to Windows laptops, servers, and apps. The directory can also be used to store email addresses for users, which are then used by an Exchange server to send mail.
Every object has a type and a value. Types include user, contact, group, organization, domain, and security policy. Values include usernames, passwords, email addresses, telephone numbers, posts on social networking sites, and even driver's licenses. Some types of values can have multiple items assigned to them (such as emails addresses), while others cannot (like groups). Objects are related through properties. Properties describe attributes of the object such as username, surname, phone number, email address, full name, bio, job title, organizational unit, department, employee ID, password history, security questions and answers, self-service password reset instructions, service accounts, conditional access keys, and so on.
Objects in Active Directory are stored in containers called directories. There is one container for each organizational unit (OU) in your organization. OUs are logical grouping of objects that share common needs or requirements.
What is the significance of Active Directory? Active Directory assists you in organizing your company's users, computers, and other resources. Your IT administrator utilizes AD to arrange the whole hierarchy of your firm, from which PCs belong on which network to what your profile picture looks like and which users have access to the storage area. He or she can also use AD to keep track of changes that are made to user accounts.
The main goal of Active Directory is to provide a single point of contact for users, computers, and groups. This makes it easy to identify who has access to what. You can also use AD to control how users log on to their computers. For example, you can require them to change their password every six months to prevent someone from logging on as they if they had not changed her password. Or you can block certain users from being able to log on at all by denying them access to the domain.
You should understand that there are two types of directories available for businesses to use: global and local. Active Directory is only available for global directories. A global directory is one that covers an entire country or continent. A large majority of businesses use global directories because it's easier to set up and manage users across multiple countries. However, some companies may want to use a local directory instead because it allows them to provide unique services to each region or branch they operate in.
A local directory is one that covers a small group of people within a single location.