Why do you need to improve the efficiency and security of your hybrid AD?

Almost all organizations use at least one product from the Microsoft ecosystem as a part of their infrastructure: Active Directory (AD) for managing user identities, Exchange for email needs, or SharePoint for content storage and management. As cyberattacks rise exponentially, securing these elements of your IT infrastructure is crucial for preventing data breaches. Even a single unsecured, orphaned, or incorrectly configured account can lead to a major security incident.

To mitigate this risk, you should implement solutions that help you manage and secure your Microsoft enterprise applications. ManageEngine provides solutions to securely manage identities from AD user provisioning to deprovisioning, audit changes to your AD, Azure AD, Microsoft 365, Exchange, and file servers, and enforce stringent password policies and MFA that ensure your organizational data remains secure.

What are the top hybrid AD management
and security challenges and how do you solve them?

Automating identity lifecycle management

It's crucial to ensure user identities are properly created, modified, and disabled as needed from the moment employees join the company to the moment they leave. New employees are usually given limited access to systems. However, as they get promoted or change departments, their access permissions are changed to reflect their new job function. When they finally leave the firm, their mailbox data should be exported and their account should be disabled.

All of this can be achieved with native tools. However, they lack certain features like bulk user provisioning and automation. With thousands of identities to manage, the lack of these features can make this process tedious and error-prone.

ManageEngine's AD management tool, ADManager Plus, enables you to automate your entire identity lifecycle management process, and our solutions integrate with your human capital management (HCM) applications so you can automate this process. Utilizing ADManager Plus, the details of new employees can be efficiently added to the HCM system. When the required access permissions are granted, this AD automation and orchestration tool automatically creates users accounts across multiple enterprise applications such as AD, Exchange, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace. Any change to a role in the HCM automatically triggers the necessary changes—be it modifying user access permissions, or backing up and disabling a former employee's account.

Detecting and mitigating threats

The increased shift towards remote and hybrid working conditions has made securing organization networks more complex. As an organization's attack surface increases, administrators need some way to ensure that users are who they say they are, and protect their workforce against credential-based attacks. In a typical organization, huge volumes of logs are generated on a regular basis. This makes sifting through logs manually to detect potential threats a near-impossible task. This is where identity analytics tools are helpful. These should enable you to analyze logs across your AD and receive both reports and alerts.

ManageEngine's AD auditing tool, ADAudit Plus, analyzes logs and troubleshoots AD account lockouts as well as detects and alerts you about the source of the authentication failure. This solution analyzes and creates a baseline for normal employee activities, and alerts administrators instantly when they act in an unusual manner. Actions such as logging in at unusual times or from new locations, trying to access assets they don't normally use, and more are detected. ADAudit Plus enables you to analyze, troubleshoot, detect, and be notified of compromised accounts and potential internal threats.

Protecting users from identity theft

Today's organizations need to manage access privileges for users across multiple applications and locations. Meanwhile, credential-based attacks continue to be a common attack vector for data breaches.

Implementing MFA adds an additional layer of security and helps reduce the risk of credential-based attacks. With ManageEngine's enterprise MFA and password management AD solution, ADSelfService Plus, IT administrators can enable MFA for VPN, OWA, and Windows, Linux, and macOS machines.

Admins can also require employees trying to access organizational resources from outside the network perimeter to verify their identities with additional modes of authentication, ensuring an added layer of security. Unlike with most MFA products, ManageEngine's MFA solution can even work even if employees are not connected to the internet. Administrators can also enforce stringent password policies and exclude commonly used passwords and patterns.

Complying with government and industrial regulations

Failure to comply with governmental and industrial regulations can result in huge fines and loss of reputation for organizations. Depending on the environment and the criticality of the data, each compliance regulation requires organizations to satisfy multiple requirements.

ADAudit Plus, ManageEngine's AD audit tool, enables you to generate Active Directory compliance reports for HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOX, the GDPR, CCPA, FISMA, and more with a host of predefined reports. You can configure compliance reports to be generated and sent to specific email addresses every quarter or year to stay ahead of your compliance audits. Further, you can audit file servers, Azure AD, ADFS, printers, and USB devices.

Implementing just enough administration (JEA)

One of the first rules for best practices in IT management is to reduce the number of privileged accounts in the enterprise network. A large number of privileged accounts is a ticking time-bomb waiting to be set off by a threat actor.

ManageEngine’s AD management solution, ADAudit Plus, enables you to efficiently delegate non-admin users to perform minor management tasks without elevating their native AD privileges.

You can configure custom AD workflows which fit your organization so that any changes made by the non-admin users have to be approved by the administrator before they can take effect. This enables you to keep the number of privileged accounts to a minimum while also making sure you’re free to concentrate on more pressing tasks.

Automating threat response

IT administrators are responsible for managing users' access to web applications and sensitive business data without inhibiting business agility and the user experience. With remote working being the norm today, IT administrators should manage user identities and accesses across multiple platforms and beyond the traditional network perimeters.

ManageEngine's AD insider threat detection and alerting solutions enable administrators to configure threshold-based alerts for all user activities, file server activities, print server activities, permission change activities, and more. These products also enable admins to automate threat responses by executing scripts to disable the user account, or shut down the machine when a high volume of suspicious activities are recorded for a single account or device.

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