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Modernize Active Directory – Security Boulevard

By Kayla Coco-Stotts Posted January 7, 2020

Has Active Directory adapted to incorporate the explosion of technological innovation to provide the same overarching, dominant presence on all systems and applications? In an age where software updates and new systems are released at a rapid pace, it is important to evaluate whether Microsoft has been able to keep up. In short, the question for many IT admins is how to modernize Active Directory.

Active Directory in the Beginning

Active Directory® (AD) was introduced in 1999 and released with Windows® Server 2000. AD quickly became the industry standard for directory services, and by 2000, 97% of devices were running Microsoft® software.

AD has specialized in on-prem, Windows-centric domains for decades. While this is great for some organizations, many organizations still using AD today need more capabilities.

Is Active Directory Outdated?

As shown in the chart below, since the rise of the cloud, Microsoft’s market dominance has steadily decreased, making way for new mobile and desktop systems introduced by macOS® (iOS and OS X) and Linux® (Android).


Line graph courtesy of statcounter Global Stats

Even though the market is shifting to incorporate heterogeneous systems, AD still struggles with Mac, Linux, web apps, and cloud infrastructure. AD was not designed to be cloud-, macOS-, or Linux-friendly, forcing IT admins to add third-party solutions on top of AD to incorporate cloud-based applications and mixed-platform environments.

IT admins need add-on solutions to fill the holes in AD that have developed in the cloud era. These add-ons take money, time, and effort away from IT orgs. Additionally, AD doesn’t specifically support single sign-on (SSO), but there are add-on options like Azure® Active Directory, Active Directory Federation Services, and purchased third-party solutions that can resolve the issue. These also require extensive implementation hours and quickly add to the rising costs of modernizing AD. 

Moving to the Cloud

There are options available for modernizing Active Directory without sacrificing usability or budget. Bringing AD to the cloud offers IT admins the chance to authenticate and authorize users on multiple systems and (Read more…)

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