Microsoft Active Directory (AD) authenticates every object in the Windows environment, so it is not just a piece of infrastructure but a security asset that needs to be managed, kept healthy, and secure.
What is the Active Directory (AD)?
The Active Directory (AD) is a Microsoft-created directory service for Windows domain networks. It manages network resources, such as user and group accounts and computer objects.
The Active Directory stores information about all the network objects, providing security and single sign-on.
It is included in most Windows Server operating systems as a set of processes and services that manage network resources. It enables users to log on to the network, access resources, and apply security policies.
Active Directory is used to authenticate and authorize access to resources and let administrators manage the network from a centralized console.
Importance of Active Directory management
Active Directory and Azure Active Directory are at the core of many successful identity management programs.
Active Directory is a crucial part of any business network, and Active Directory administration management is the key to keeping it running smoothly. That’s because Active Directory is responsible for storing and managing all the user accounts and computer settings in a Windows domain.
Without proper administration, an Active Directory deployment can quickly become a mess, leading to all sorts of problems, such as users being unable to log into their computers or applications not working correctly. That’s why having a good Active Directory administration management plan is so important.
Managing and securing an organization’s data can be challenging if a company does not have a plan for Active Directory administration management.
Without a plan, an organization risks data loss, security breaches, and compliance issues. An outline helps ensure that the Active Directory is properly administered and that data is protected.
Active Directory administration management includes creating and maintaining user accounts, setting permissions, and monitoring activity. While it may seem like a lot of work, proper AD administration management is essential to keeping your business safe.
Active Directory is a critical component of most networks as the single source for centralized Windows authentication and authorization. Unfortunately, managing and maintaining Active Directory can be complicated and time-consuming.
Need for an external tool to manage Active Directory
Because of the rise in cyberattacks and credential vulnerabilities, organizations are searching for ways to decrease their attack surfaces. Organizations are implementing security architectures based on zero trust due to the increase in breaches, according to a Cloudfare report.
According to Microsoft, 95% of the Fortune 100 Companies manage and store Identity and account data using Microsoft Active Directory and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).
Although Active Directory and Azure AD are solid systems on their own, administrators can enhance their capabilities to build a reliable, safe, and zero-trust security infrastructure by utilizing third-party management solutions.
Organizations should look to increase Active Directory capabilities with toolkits that can boost the infrastructure’s efficiency and security in light of the development of cyberattack technologies.
In the following section, we will see the best AD tools and how they can assist you in monitoring, managing, securing, and administering your complex AD environment.
ManageEngine Active Directory Management Solution
ManageEngine Unified Active Directory is a comprehensive authentication, authorization, and access control solution. It enables administrators to centrally manage and monitor users, groups, and resources across multiple Active Directory domains.
ManageEngine is crucial for organizations that want to secure their identities, passwords, user profiles, and other critical data. Its tight integration with Active Directory makes it an ideal choice for comprehensive Active Directory management and reporting.
In addition, the solution provides a management console and reporting engine to be used to identify compliance and performance issues.
By automating the management of users and groups, administrators can improve the efficiency of their organization.
Bulk user management
Automatic user creation in AD, office, and Exchange
OU and group-based delegation
Office 365 and Exchange Management
Automated stale account cleanup
The granular level delegation model
ManageEngine is a comprehensive and powerful tool that can help administrators to manage end-to-end Active Directory environments more efficiently. It has standard and professional editions.
Stellar is one of the widely used Active Directory (AD) repair professional software. It is used by more than three million customers to repair corrupt Active Directory database files in more than 190 countries and won around 100 awards.
It performs the complete action of repairing the AD and restoring all AD objects to a new AD database having the same domain name, security features, and permissions of users, groups, and computers.
It supports all Windows servers from 2003 to 2019 and Recovers objects like InetOrgPerson, MsMq, Printer, and Contacts. The software provides easy-to-use, flexible troubleshooting steps and generates log reports for every repair task.
The software performs end-to-end processes of AD fixing such as AD repair, restore, and related activities like a preview of AD objects to confirm the repair, setting passwords after repair, etc.
Restoration of AD components without errors
Repair of AD failure and corruption
Set default or random passwords to user accounts
Preview of AD objects to verify the repair of AD objects
Stellar software is trusted by millions of users to repair and fix the active directory. The software has a demo version, which can be used to preview the AD objects, and if you want to troubleshoot the AD, then you need to buy the full version.
American Security Today’s ASTORS Homeland Security gave the Best Access Control and Authentication System award to Solarwinds Access Rights Manager.
It gives administrators more visibility and control over AD and Azure AD user provisioning and de-provisioning, which facilitates smoother onboarding and compliance.
It provides a web-based administrative interface, Granular access control, auditing for Exchange, and file servers. Additionally, it enables you to automatically grant and revoke access, allowing you to maintain system security without compromising anything.
A comprehensive range of tools for creating reports on user activities is also part of Solarwinds ARM.
Delegation in Active Directory
Tools for user provisioning that support SLAs
Managing access to the files and folders in SharePoint
Apply data protection regulations
Automated and customized reporting
Automated management of audits
Enhanced transparency to reduce insider risk
By enabling you to manage who has access to what and track and monitor all access activities, Solarwinds ARM may assist you in securing your environment.
It is an affordable solution that is simple to implement and manage. The software is available in subscription and perpetual editions. It is open to testing free of cost for 30 days.
One Identity Active Directory administration
One Identity, originally Quest Software, is a business that sells software for managing and automating numerous IT operations, including Active Directory management.
When used in a hybrid deployment, this Active Directory administration solution provides a single console, unified processes, and a consistent administrative experience for both on-premise AD and Azure AD.
It enables administrators to swiftly provision and de-provision users, manage group membership, and handle other user account-related tasks.
Additionally, One Identity may assist in ensuring AD is configured safely and following business regulations. You can use the program to diagnose Active Directory problems as well.
Automation of provisioning, group management, password management, etc
Connectors to connect Office 365, Skype for Business, SharePoint, and many other services.
It increases PowerShell, ADSI, and SPML’s functionalities.
Templates to make provisioning quick and straightforward.
Role-based access control
On-premise and cloud versions of the OneIdentity Active Directory administration tool are both accessible. Before implementing the product into your live environment, you can test it out for 30 days without cost.
Netwrix Auditor for Active Directory
Netwrix provides end-to-end visibility into the AD environment. It’s crucial to regularly audit your Active Directory (AD) to keep your network safe and up-to-date. You may accomplish this automatically and methodically with the Active Directory Auditing Software from Netwrix.
The program can keep track of modifications made to AD objects and permissions. It can assist you in detecting and preventing unwanted access and promptly identifying and fixing any issues.
The software is a complete auditing solution that assists administrators in keeping vigilance on the entire Active Directory environment. It offers detailed logging, reporting, and analysis features that help administrators find and fix Active Directory problems.
Comprehensive auditing of changes and logons
Rapid notification of unsuccessful login efforts and AD modifications
Checks on group policies
Identifies suspicious behavior
The software’s purpose is to offer thorough and dependable Active Directory audits. It is a great web-based application for auditing your company’s Active Directory and assists in locating and tracking directory changes. It has a 20-day free trial period.
Quest Active Directory (AD) Management
Twenty years have passed since Quest began offering AD management solutions. Its website claims to have handled 184 million accounts, audited 166 million, and migrated 95 million accounts.
Due to its innovative solution, AD can be reorganized and consolidated during regular business hours without service interruptions. Its threat detection system alarms through real-time auditing of unusual or suspicious behavior.
The software helps automate tasks to simplify everyday tasks, eliminate human error, and reduce downtime. Its single console to monitor AD, Azure AD, or a hybrid AD infrastructure reduces security and compliance risks.
Automation of GPO management and AD lifecycle management tasks
Proactive monitoring of AD availability and health
Reporting that is consolidated across on-premises, hybrid, and cloud.
Modern and advanced Quest AD management and migration software support the evolving AD environment of today. It ensures that the AD environment is secure, healthy, and error-free.
NinjaOne Active Directory Management
The NinjaOne Active Directory Management Suite ultimately administers the Active Directory of your company. You may increase security and streamline your daily tasks using NinjaOne.
It helps administrators to efficiently and effectively administer AD. Permissions for users may be assigned and managed, and reporting and email notifications let you monitor user behavior.
Any organization would benefit greatly from this product, which has several advantages. A number of its characteristics, including its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, support for various AD procedures, and capacity to manage numerous AD environments, make it an excellent option for AD management.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from NinjaOne’s Active Directory management solution since it is comprehensive and covers the whole lifespan of an organization’s Directory. Before being used in a live environment, the software can be downloaded and tested without charge.
Hyena System Tools
Active Directory (AD) and Windows system management program Hyena have won awards. It is a client-side application that executes server-side tasks. Hyena’s feature-rich software is appropriate for AD installations of all sizes.
Its centralized console administers the entire AD environment and streamlines the daily AD management tasks.
All activities perform using an explorer-style user interface, and all items have right-click context menus.
The console makes it simple to handle all of the AD objects, including users, groups, OUs, devices, sessions, processes, privileges, and many others.
Advanced attribute management, filtering, and reporting
Updates AD information quickly and easily in bulk
AD import and update automation without the use of complicated scripts
Active Directory searches are modified at every object level
Safely make numerous modifications to the Directory
Regardless of the number of servers or AD users in the environment, Hyena’s licensing policy is related to the number of administrators utilizing the product. Its fully functional software can be tested free of cost for 30 days.
For administering your Active Directory (AD) environment, it offers a simple graphical user interface (GUI). All of the objects and attributes in your AD environment are organized in a comprehensive tree view that is part of it.
Additionally, you can access particular characteristics and object types via the menus. You may also use the advanced features menu to tailor AD Explorer to your requirements.
With AD Explorer, you can quickly inspect and modify the properties of items in an AD database, carry out essential administration operations like controlling group membership and updating user attributes, and examine security settings, among many other things.
Additionally, you may use AD Explorer to do bulk object activities, search for items, view the layout of your AD environment, troubleshoot AD, and more.
ManageEngine offers a free edition with a cap of 100 domain objects for managing Active directory infrastructure. The software creates more than 200 reports, manages AD computers, and manages AD users.
ManageEngine’s free Active Directory tools will unquestionably aid Windows Active Directory administrators in efficiently managing all Active Directory Data.
The tools are:
AD Query tool
AD CSV generator
Last logon reporter
Terminal session manager
AD replication manager
AD LDS object management tool
These tools can be downloaded free of cost from ManageEngine.
Solarwinds Free Admin Bundle
In terms of scanning the AD and removing inactive users and computers over an extended period, Solarwinds offers a free tool to manage AD. Additionally, it provides bulk user import capabilities, saving time on creating those.
I have been in the IT industry for more than 20 years. I have served Fortune 100 company in a senior role looking after projects related to US Banking, BFS, Mortgage, Insurance, and FMCG. Apart from IT, I like to read books, especially spirituality… read more