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Jan 14

Secure User Accounts in Active Directory

Active Directory

Active Directory is Microsoft’s directory server-software that organizes and provides access to information in an operating system’s directory. It is also a software tool that ties servers, workstations, network components and the user into a unified whole. Besides, it serves as a database for users, computers, groups and the other objects which comprise of a domain and a part of a forest of domains.

Active Directory uses authentication and authorization for those users who are part of the active directory network where the information is saved. From a security point of views, it is always a better option to use special service account so run the application services instead of using system accounts.

Why secure User Accounts?

Protects any vital information of users, company systems, system data, software applications and to prevent any unauthorized accesses.

To manage your corporate user accounts and take advantage of groups to dynamically provision user accounts and set their permission accordingly.

Best Practice to Secure User Accounts in Active Directory

Clean-up the Domain Admin group

    • Domain Administrators are the powerful group in an organization who has local admin rights on every domain-joined system. To secure this group, they should not be a day to day user accounts in the domain admin group except the default domain admin account.
    • Encourage using two accounts for your admin account. A regular account for local admin with no admin rights and a privileged account with rights for admin tasks.

Strong Password and 2FA

    • Consider setting a long character password to secure the domain admin account. It is only needed for recovery purpose.
    • You can also place two-factors authentication (2FA) to verify the identity of all active directory user account logins. It provides the best balance of security usability and cost.

Using software tools

  • Some of the software application will help you to manage, monitor, and analyses active directory group policy. You can get better control of access of your active directory through a centralized application.
  • An application such as SolarWinds Access Rights Manager tool will help audits files and shares to help prevent data from unauthorized access to data and sensitive files.

Monitor Active Directory Event logs for any signs of Compromise

  • You should regularly monitor the active directory logs to help detect compromise and abnormal behaviour on the network.
  • You should make a note of any following events and logs from event viewer and take necessary steps
    • Monitoring DNS logs for security threats
    • Monitoring DHCP logs for connected devices
    • Any changes to privileged groups in your Active Directory
    • Disabled or removal of antivirus software
    • All activities performed by privileged accounts
    • Spike of bad passwords and account lockouts

Backup and Recovery

  • Perform the backup of Active Directory regularly in case of disaster. This will allow you fast recovery of your AD integrity if they are breached.

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