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How Okta Integrates Into Active Directory (and 5 Benefits for IT)

Teju Shyamsundar Okta blog bio
Teju Shyamsundar
Senior Product Marketing Manager

Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) is critical in a distributed network for identity management to providing a single source of truth. However, it comes with heavy drawbacks, particularly the hidden and ever-increasing costs in time. After initial installation and configuration for AD, every application needs to be connected and maintained, users need access provisioning and deprovisioning, and time is spent recovering from errors introduced by this manual work.

Many companies already have AD in place, so how can teams make sure they get the most out of their infrastructure with the time they’ve invested, and will continue to invest in the future?

Okta is an enterprise grade identity management service, built exclusively in and for the cloud. It enables teams to manage access to services within on-premises networks and beyond the firewall. Among other services, we provide directory services, Single Sign-On (SSO), and reporting across web-based applications. Working with Okta offers five key benefits that teams can immediately take advantage of to improve their existing AD infrastructure:

1. Secure, complete, and automatic integration with AD and with no additional services to install. No extra firewall configuration is required, and all communication between the Okta Active Directory Agent and the Okta cloud service is protected with SSL encryption.

2. No change to login flow for end-users, leading to faster adoption with fewer errors. Your team can log into the Okta cloud with their AD credentials to access everything they need, and IT teams don’t have to worry about password reset and related support tickets.

3. Leverages past investments in SaaS applications and extends them to the cloud. Users already familiar with and dependent on specific web applications don’t need to switch to compatible applications, and IT teams gain greater control and oversight over who has access.

4. Offers thousands of pre-integrated applications for immediate use. Custom setup and development is eliminated when introducing new services to sets of users. IT teams can introduce services with confidence that the configuration is secure and ready for heavy use.

5. Enables delegation of continuous monitoring, reporting, and management. Any changes or updates to a user will synchronize their access policies in real-time while maintaining an audit trail. This way, IT teams can easily generate accurate reports on user status and health.

Okta works with independent software vendors and monitors changes and upgrades to existing APIs to take advantage of their latest functionality. This means teams can delegate application maintenance to Okta. You can quickly integrate your company’s AD with Okta and maintain all integrations in three easy steps:

1. Set up active directory by downloading the Okta Active Directory agent

This is a simple, wizard-driven process. With a single click you download the agent and install it on a Windows server with access to an AD domain controller. Follow with some light configuration with your company’s Okta organization URL and your own credentials, and Okta will establish a secure connection between AD and your new Okta instance.

2. Let Okta import users and intelligently process the results

Incoming AD users are analyzed and evaluated with a matching algorithm to existing Okta users. That is, if an Okta user already exists for an incoming application, the two accounts will automatically be linked. This guarantees continuous access to services for your end users. You’ll have a chance to confirm all users before being considered successfully imported, allowing you to catch any mistakes early on.

3. Add users to an AD security group, and map applications you want to provision to that group

Okta handles synchronization with AD with this rule-based provisioning format. It automatically handles provisioning required resources for all users in the group. It also detects changes in individual users, such as accounts being disabled or deleted. In that case, it automatically deprovisions all connected services, simultaneously maintaining an audit trail so you can demonstrate compliance with confidence and ease.

Read more about how Okta integrates into Active Directory:

Okta is the leading solution for eliminating time-consuming drawbacks commonly associated with AD. Experience it for yourself—start your free trial today.

Teju Shyamsundar Okta blog bio
Teju Shyamsundar
Senior Product Marketing Manager

Teju Shyamsundar is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Okta, leading our Adaptive Authentication products. Prior to Okta, she worked at Microsoft and implemented enterprise mobility technologies across a large set of enterprise customers in various industries. Teju now works on driving the value of Okta’s adaptive MFA and Adaptive SSO capabilities across customers and partners. Teju holds a BS degree in Computer & Information Technology from Purdue University.