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What is Active Directory And How Does It Work?

What is Active Directory And How Does It Work

It’s likely that you are familiar with utilizing Active Directory, a database service created by Microsoft for Windows network domains, if you work in IT management. The fact that Active Directory is so essential to maintaining a company’s network security makes it worthwhile to learn about it even if you aren’t an IT administrator.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about Active Directory, including how to administer your directory more efficiently if your business employs Intermedia products.

Active Directory

What is Active Directory And How Does It Work

Microsoft’s Active Directory is a tool used to manage every person and device in a Windows system. It is a crucial component of Windows Server, a functional system that powers both locally installed servers and web-based ones. In a Windows environment, Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), also known as an area controller, houses all client and PC data for each individual. It organises, verifies their credentials, and defines their entry privileges.

The area controller is contacted when a client needs to sign in to an AD-managed PC so it can verify the client’s credentials and access permissions.

Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) enables AD users to access resources outside of their local network by using their credentials for the AD domain. Since AD FS bases its operations on the concept of a single personality, it follows that AD FS and the external asset should develop a bond of trust.

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What is Active Directory’s mechanism?

Administrators can manage their IT networks with the help of a number of services provided by Active Directory. A Windows server called a domain controller hosts these services. The most popular Active Directory service is Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). It permits access to network resources and authenticates Active Directory objects. Additionally, AD DS supports management throughout the entire network and saves and arranges data in a logical, hierarchical format. Other significant AD services are Active Directory Rights Management Services, Active Directory Federation Services, Active Directory Certification Services, and Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD RMS).

Exactly what data is kept in Active Directory?

Information is kept in Active Directory as “objects.”

In the realm of AD, an object is any network resource, including:

Passwords for user accounts
File sharing, printers, and computers
Applications
security teams

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Active Directory contains two different kinds of objects.

Similar to how a file folder can include other files or file directories, container objects can contain other things. Organizational units and security groups are examples of container objects.
Similar to how a file cannot contain other files, leaf objects are distinct objects that do not contain other objects. User accounts, PCs, and printers are all examples of single object types known as leaf objects.

So now that you are aware that objects are network resources, what about the specific information for each object?

The “values” of each object are its specifics or characteristics.

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There will be a collection of values for each object that characterise it. The values for a user account will consist of items like department, employee ID, and contact details.

Compare Active Directory to the “contacts” app on your smartphone to quickly understand what the objects and data are. Your individual contacts are like the items on AD in the “contacts” app on your phone. Additionally, each contact’s contact details (phone number, email address, and notes) are identical to the values in Active Directory.

Active Directory Domain Services: What Are They?

What is Active Directory And How Does It Work

One of the main parts of Active Directory, Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), is responsible for authenticating users and determining which network resources they can access. In addition, AD DS offers further capabilities including Single Sign-On (SSO), security certificates, LDAP, and access rights administration.

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The Active Directory Domain Services’ Hierarchical Structure

As shown below, AD DS arranges data in a hierarchical structure made up of domains, trees, and forests.

Domains: A domain is a collection of items that are connected to the same AD database, including users, groups, and devices. A domain can be compared to a tree branch. The structure of a domain is the same as that of regular domains and sub-domains, such as sales.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com.

Trees: A tree is a collection of domains arranged logically in a hierarchy. Domains in a tree are considered to “trust” one another because they are connected.

The greatest level of organisation in AD is a forest, which is made up of a collection of trees. In addition to sharing directory schemas, catalogues, application data, and domain configurations, trees in a forest can also trust one another.

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Organizational Units: Users, groups, computers, and other organisational units are organised using OUs.

Containers: A container and an OU are similar, however unlike an OU, a group policy object (GPO) cannot be linked to a generic Active Directory container.

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