Active Directory Account Management Best Practices
September 22nd, 2021

Active Directory (AD) plays a crucial role in a business’s IT infrastructure because it authenticates and authorizes all computers and users. It does this in a Windows domain network by assigning and implementing securing policies for all computers and updating or installing software.

Active Directory also organizes everything, including what systems users have access to and which computers belong to which network. Thus, Active Directory permits streamlined and secure management of an entire system, whether that system spans a city, a building, or multiple locations across the globe.

With the right Active Directory account management tools, you can automate cumbersome tasks, access detailed status reports of various tasks, and simplify Active Directory account management. The Active Directory management tools permit IT administrators to create templates for successful management of online accounts. To learn more about customer identity and access management, contact Squareball and see how we can help you today. 

In this article, we’ll look at 5 of the best practices for Active Directory account management.

  1. Execute Permission Inheritance

After organizing AD, it’s time to improve it by leveraging the permission inheritance model and the least privilege principle. The least privilege principle is based on the “no more no less” theory. Every AD account user is only given the permissions and access rights they require to complete a task within a certain network. 

As users in a network increase, the role-based or permission inheritance model plays a crucial role. These principles allow IT administrators to give access to the parent object or a specified role. Thus, the objects below the specified parent or role automatically gain access to the same permissions and access rights as the parent object. These principles automate and simplify the task of managing permissions and access rights, promoting consistency.

  1. Improve Password Policies

There are many ways to improve password set up to make sure account users don’t have to reset their passwords later. Implementing single-sign-on and self-service password management can help domain users to update their personal details and set passwords remotely or on-premises. However, it’s crucial to make sure that access to these services is highly secured because unauthorized access can cause data exposure.

A 2-factor authentication (2FA) solution is another method to secure your Active Directory. This authentication method requires users to go through a short verification process after logging into the system and entering their username and password. They receive a verification passcode, a one-time passcode or a unique link via email. Other ways to secure AD include updating your passwords frequently, allowing three login attempts, and creating longer passwords.

  1. Schedule Routine Clean-Ups

Over time, user accounts and resources such as computers become obsolete and must be deleted. Based on your company’s Active Directory housekeeping measures, eliminate inactive, unnecessary, and disabled resources and user accounts. 

Scheduling regular clean-ups can help you secure your AD and improve performance. Also, using Active Directory account management tools, you can automate routine clean-ups. This can help you detect and remove inactive user accounts.

  1. Create Multiple Domain Name System (DNS) Servers

DNS in Active Directory locates objects within AD. The DNS server maintains a database of services, which is running on a network and is saved as a service record. These records comprise user tickets raised to IT admins to locate a service, such as needing a printer. 

Maintaining such databases on a single DNS server is daunting because if the server fails, you have to deal with tremendous amounts of data loss. Thus, it’s crucial to have multiple DNS servers to act as backups. Since each DNS server has its own records, it’s easier to find an address corresponding to a specific database. If the requested data isn’t available in the first-level DNS server, the request is then forwarded to the second and subsequent level DNS servers.

  1. Automate User Provisioning and De-Provisioning

There are several steps involved when provisioning and de-provisioning account users. You can automate many of these steps to eliminate the risk of manual errors. For instance, when a worker is terminated from your organization, you can create a workflow to enforce the following steps:

  • Generate a Group Membership report: This is a simple report that shows the Active Directory Groups that the targeted account user is a member of.
  • Log off all current or active sessions: This executes an action that closes the targeted user’s active sessions and relays a message to that user.
  • Generate a Login History report: This action generates a simple report showing the targeted user login history, which enables you to identify the machine that the targeted user has been using.
  • Clean up Active Directory: This action sets the targeted user’s passwords to expire, disables the user’s account, and moves the targeted user to the terminated user Organizational Unit.
  • Remove AD Group memberships: This action removes all the Active Directory Group memberships for the targeted account user.

Final Thoughts

The five best practices for Active Directory account management are a good place for your IT team to begin maintaining a clean AD. Good housekeeping calls for frequent monitoring of actions taken to eliminate the risk of configuration drifts and manual errors. 

Choosing the right Active Directory account management tool can help you to generate reports quickly or automate processes. This can save you time and significantly improve AD security by facilitating IT compliance in your company. 

For further reading, check out our other articles like The Difference Between Basic Auth And OAuth and What Is the Difference Between LDAP and Active Directory?