Tips to Better Leverage Your Active Directory

Microsoft Active Directory (AD) is the cornerstone of most enterprise’s internal networks. It is a critical component of many organizations’ user and identity access management. Here are some strategies to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Active Directory.

Connect your Active Directory to the cloud

It’s hard to imagine a time where an organization’s network components were not stored in a single location. But as businesses increasingly harness the power of cloud services, their external access requirements have proliferated. While cloud-based services like SaaS apps have improved productivity in many ways, these services have also created security and efficiency issues for IT departments and network administrators as they try to keep track of everything.

Okta’s Active Directory integration harmonizes identity and access management, much like AD did itself in the early 2000s. It also facilitates reporting across all of your web-based applications, whether they are in the cloud or behind the firewall.

Use single sign-on (SSO) with your AD Credentials

With single sign-on (SSO), your team can use their Active Directory credentials not only for internal network access and email, but also for all of their external web apps. With over 4,000 integrations to the leading SaaS apps, users can log in with a single user account in a single session. This not only increases productivity for the end user, but reduces password reset help desk calls by up to 50%.

Automate user lifecycle management

Okta connects AD and your external and on-prem apps to provide, revoke, or modify user access automatically. When a user is deleted in AD, Okta will take care of deprovisioning all of that user’s assigned applications. Okta also integrates to HR software, so it can automatically grant access to new employees. This streamlines the onboarding process and communication between HR and IT. By harnessing AD security group membership and other rules, admins can keep a group policy and modify access to entire teams at once. 

Use SSL encryption for a secure connection

Okta’s commitment to the highest levels of security is key to our integration. Communication between AD and Okta’s cloud service is kept secure through SSL encryption. Using server-side SSL certificates keeps your organization safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. The AD agent initially authenticates to Okta by using organization-specific credentials. After the first authentication, the agent exchanges cryptographic keys for all future communication.

Use adaptive multi-factor authentication

Okta also facilitates automated multi-factor authentication (MFA) so your organization can create and enforce security policies for all users from a single, central location. This eliminates the risks that come with employees using the same passwords across various services. Okta’s MFA feature enables you to comply with industry-leading security standards. Whether your employees are accessing their accounts on-prem or remotely, Okta is always on, keeping you secure.

To ensure your user identity and access management keeps running smoothly, Okta supports multiple AD agents running at the same time. This provides higher throughput and redundancy, and better availability. If an agent ever stops running for any reason, the authentication requests will be routed to other agents without disrupting service.

Getting started with Okta for Active Directory

Okta is easy to install and configure with your Active Directory. From the Okta admin portal, one click lets you download the Okta Active Directory agent and install it on any Windows server with access to a domain controller. After it’s installed, simply enter the URL of your Okta subdomain name and your credentials, and the agent will securely connect AD and Okta. Our Help Center provides a step-by-step guide on how to begin leveraging your Active Directory into the cloud with Okta.

Try Okta Free

Connect your AD to Okta and try our SSO, adaptive MFA, and lifecycle management solutions for free for 30 days.