Advantages of Microsoft® Active Directory®

In the modern era of the cloud, what are the advantages of Microsoft
® Active Directory®(AD), the on-prem directory service, and when would you use it? Further, as it relates to this question, there is the follow-up on when to use on-prem Active Directory vs Azure® Active Directory (AAD). These are great questions for IT admins, and the answers have a great deal of downstream impacts.

AD and IAM

Before diving into the differences between AD and AAD, which is tangentially related to the advantages of Active Directory, let’s discuss the foundation of identity and access management (IAM) for many years. Microsoft created Active Directory in the late 1990s as a way to centrally manage user access to Windows®-based networks, servers, applications, and, of course, laptops and desktops. The goal was to be able to give IT admins an easy way to manage their identity and access control issues.

The move was a brilliant one because not only did it help IT organizations seamlessly manage user access, it also helped end users log in to their Windows machine, and, with one login, effectively have access to whatever IT resources they needed within the confines of the domain. While utility and value was high for IT organizations, the real win was that AD entrenched Microsoft even further into organizations. As it became easier to manage Windows machines and applications, IT admins demanded more Windows resources. It was a virtuous cycle for Microsoft.

Advantages of Active Directory

The advantages of the Active Directory approach for IT organizations at the time were significant. They already had a virtually all-Windows network, so IT organizations could easily connect their users to files, applications, servers, and more. With AD’s GPO (group policy object) functionality, IT admins managed their fleet of Windows systems using policies that enacted password complexity requirements, screen saver lock, configurations, and more. The benefit for end users was the beginning of a Single Sign-On (SSO) type of experience—log in once to your Windows machine and access whatever you need.

Further, at the time, the concept of security was (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Zach DeMeyer. Read the original post at:

Zach DeMeyer

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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