Active Directory 2020 – a guide to best practices

Active Directory 2020 - a guide to best practices

Operating systems such as Windows form the basis for computer applications. IT tools such as the Active Directory (AD) directory service are used to manage access rights and increase security.

IT tool for specific tasks

Active Directory is an essential part of the architecture of IT-related operating systems, with which system access and IT security can be better controlled. As part of system administration, standard centralized AD systems are used to automatically manage domains, online users and devices in the network such as computers and printers.

An Active Directory is crucial for a variety of functions. The system, which is responsible for data storage and communication management between domains, can facilitate the implementation of security certificates and access to resources within the network. IT tools such as Active Directory are responsible for controlling the passwords and access rights used in the network so that different groups in the system can be managed more effectively.

Software tools for e-mail and network analysis, which are used in network administration, can be found on independent IT portals such as, where a collection of DNS tools can be accessed. Efficient storage and organization methods are among the essential factors that are important for building secure IT structures. The basic aspects of Active Directory administration include the administration of the various AD domains.

A domain consists of a collection of objects that share the same policies and databases. There are also group guidelines that are relevant either for the entire domain or only for certain subgroups, so-called organizational units (OU). Multiple AD domains within a single group are called domain trees. These have a scheme, network configuration and a global catalog in common. In the Active Directory system, domain trees work according to the principle of trust, so that a new domain is automatically considered trustworthy.

What should you watch out for in AD systems?

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The overall structure, which consists of a group of domain trees in an AD system, is referred to as a domain forest (AD forest) and forms the top of the organizational hierarchy in Active Directory. Professional users are advised to use a single domain forest for each department in the company, so that other forests cannot be automatically accessed within a forest.

In Active Directory, a distinction is made between the two main groups, so-called distribution groups and security groups. The main task of the distribution groups is to distribute e-mail so that they are helpful for IT applications such as Outlook or Microsoft Exchange. If necessary, contacts can be deleted or new contacts can be added to the lists, but it is not possible to filter Group Policy settings in distribution groups. Because membership in a large number of security groups can slow down or complicate the registration process, IT users should be assigned distribution groups if possible.

The function of security groups is to enable IT resources to manage shared resources by specifically evaluating and controlling user and computer access. In addition to the use for e-mail distribution, security rights can also be assigned via security groups in an Active Directory network, each of which receives a set of user rights that can be used to regulate access rights as a whole. Some security groups can be specifically selected for tasks such as file recovery, while others do not have this function.

Basically, it is possible to use these groups to control the settings of group policies, so that IT managers are able to change the respective access authorizations across multiple computers if necessary. Important details should be considered in connection with the management of security groups. To ensure the security of IT applications at all times, it should be checked regularly which users have access to certain resources and authorizations.

This process, known as the privilege rule, is designed to help reduce potential risk factors. It is also advisable to check standard permissions and rights and to ensure that they are suitable for the respective application.