28. December 2022 12:44
What is Active Directory & Why is it Important?
An Active Directory can be defined as a database and identity management system. The directory contains information about the network environment, including details of all users, systems connected to the network, applications, devices such as printers, and shared folders. It further contains details of the level of access for every user.
The Active Directory services also serve the role of user authentication based on the login credentials entered by the user and allow access to the data based on authorization.
The Active Directory stores files at a centralized location, making them accessible to all users and devices across the network as per their access level. Thus, an active directory is essential to ensure that all the users can access network resources required to perform their tasks.
How To Secure Active Directory?
The importance of Active Directory makes it a desirable target for cybercriminals. Here are some expert tips to help you protect the Active Directory:
- Follow Industry Best Practices: Implementing industry best practices, such as security guidelines laid out by NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology, USA), is the first step towards securing Active Directory. The guidelines issued by NIST are based on data and statistical analysis, making them highly impactful in preventing cyberattacks.
- Limit Domain Admins: Privileged groups such as Domain Admins have extensive access authority. The users added to Domain Admins group have deep rooted access across the network, including all systems connected to the network and all data created, stored or shared across the network. In case hackers crack the user credentials of any member of Domain Admins group, they can gain access to all the data and information across the network. Additionally, they can move laterally across the network and gain access to other systems connected to the network. It is important to check the user accounts in Domain Admins group and remove the dead user accounts from the group.
- Multiple Accounts: Instead of adding all the users to privileged groups, encourage multiple user accounts and provide different privileges. This is referred to as a tiered approach. User accounts can be provided with different access levels, such as a regular account (with minimum privileges), server administration account, network administration account, and workforce administration account. Encourage users to login with a regular account for daily tasks and use privileged accounts for administrative tasks only. This limits the exposure to cyber-attacks.
- Password Security: Cyber criminals usually employ tactics to steal user credentials such as passwords to gain access to the Active Directory. Implement password strengthening strategies to avoid falling victim to identity theft attacks.
- Detect Delegation: Delegation allows users to impersonate other accounts on the Active Directory if their unconstrained delegation is enabled. This can lead to security issues if hackers access one account and use delegation to gain further access. The problem is aggravated by privileged accounts with unconstrained delegation. Make sure to regularly check for accounts with delegation enabled and report these accounts. Additionally, make a list of privileged users, delegated admins, and service accounts to help IT professionals keep a check on the potential vulnerabilities and authorization risks.
To know more about IT security for businesses, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.