Active Directory manages users, apps, and resources and handles user authorization and authentication.
Cyberattacks are on the rise throughout every sector, disrupting consumer goods and services, organizations, and endangering public safety. Businesses that haven't been attacked can have trouble justifying a cyber-first business recovery strategy
However, as more cyberattacks make headlines and the cost of ransom payments and cyber insurance grows, corporate leaders must prioritize building a proven cyber-first business recovery strategy. The first step is to safeguard the Active Directory (AD), which is most businesses’ primary identity database globally.
Active Directory is the primary access point for cybercriminals: 90% of the cyberattacks Mandiant reported, include Active Directory as the first attack vector or the gateway to elevated access. Most attacks in recent years, including SolarWinds, included compromised credentials.
victims soon realize that every minute matters during a breach. Failure to effectively restore Active Directory would lead to a second assault using the same strategies as the first.
The issue is not whether a company can afford a rapid, cyber-first Active Directory approach. The question is how Active Directory can help businesses safeguard their data and also boost their ROI.
What Benefits Does Active Directory Hold for Businesses?
There are several ways in which Active Directory can help businesses:
Centralized Data Repository
In a multi-master database
, Active Directory holds the identification information of apps, users, and resources. The Active Directory database stores data as objects and has a capacity of 2 billion objects. Users can use this identification data to access resources from anywhere on the network. Administrators can handle corporate application authentication and permission from a centralized place. Identity would be copied across numerous systems without directory services, making it impossible for administrators to oversee operations.
Minimized Data Replication
Multiple domain controllers are necessary for complicated business needs like branch offices. Sub-domain controllers are aware of changes made to the Active Directory database if identities are controlled from a centralized approach. With a centralized domain controller, Active Directory can delegate duties across the business, as well as tools and utilities for adding, removing, and modifying active identities and objects. It employs a synchronization method to guarantee that data is consistent across all domain controllers. As a result, it enables making company-wide adjustments with a few mouse clicks.
Security Auditing Capabilities
Regular audits assist you in understanding new security dangers. Active Directory enables the collection and auditing of identity infrastructure events like authentication, directory service changes, and access violations. It also facilitates the collection of data
from a centralized place for the purpose of debugging authentication and authorization difficulties that users can encounter.
Active Directory improves security across an organization. Higher-level management authorities can delegate authorization for resources and apps to other administrators or users through delegation. Active Directory items are linked in a hierarchical manner. Permissions are inherited by an object in the AD tree from its parent objects. These features guarantee that users are uniquely and securely recognized. Administrators can build and update permissions from a single database
, decreasing the possibility of inaccurate or outdated configuration.
Calculating Your Active Directory Recovery ROI
Although every IT manager or administrator understands that an effective Active Directory recovery plan is a critical component of any business-developed standard, assessing the practical ROI (return on investment) of an optimized Active Directory recovery plan is frustratingly complex. Here are important ways:
It's probable that a significant portion of your operations depend on Active Directory to authenticate users as the foundation for delivering access to apps, systems, and data. How much money or productivity will your company lose for every hour Active Directory is down? How many hours, days, or weeks would it require before the company reaches a point of no return and is unable to recover financially? Remember the City of Baltimore's ransomware attack
? Their operational recovery took several months and cost more than $18 million.
Lack of Plan That Includes AD
If your company is mature enough, it has a BC/DR strategy to restore business activities after an outage. Most disaster plans account for the loss of infrastructure or location. Few organizations have a strategy for recovering operations following a hack, particularly ransomware. How you restore Active Directory depends on what hackers changed in Active Directory. How far back must you go to get a known secure Active Directory version? What Active Directory-dependent systems, services, and apps won't work if Active Directory is recovered to an earlier state? Do you have a recent malware-free backup to restore? Without a strategy or understanding of what changed in Active Directory before recovery, your company will spend immeasurable time correcting all the issues.
Recovery Might Not Be an Answer
If all the modifications performed by the bad dudes during an assault are, say, adding an account to the Domain Admins group, then restoring Active Directory to a few days ago or last month would not be the best solution. Instead, perhaps a less expensive approach would be to monitor changes in Active Directory
and have the option to either prevent changes to "protected" accounts (such as the Domain Admins group) or immediately return a change to a sanctioned configuration.
In other words, the ROI of Active Directory recovery is significantly more dependent on your present capacity to return to a known-productive and known-secure state post-attack than it is on an online ROI calculation that ignores the various factors involved in a ransomware attack. By running through certain situations and considering your present recovery capabilities, you will uncover expenses that can be avoided by implementing a suitable Active Directory recovery solution—one that is intended to guard against, prevent, and recover from malicious modifications to Active Directory.
How to restore the Active Directory?
Restart the server
From the boot menu, press F8 to access advanced settings
Scroll down to the Directory Services Restore Mode option
Press the Enter key to restart the computer in safe mode. It will not launch the directory services
How can I restore a failed domain controller?
Restoring a Domain Controller in non-authoritarian mode
In the GUI, choose the Restore wizard
Find the required DC
From the recovery menu, choose Restore Entire VM
Then, choose a recovery point
Select whether the restoration should take place in the original location or a new one
Complete the steps necessary to complete the procedure.
For Active Directory, what is "Recovery Manager"?
The Recovery Manager for Active Directory allows you to automate backups and easily compare a backup to the present value of Active Directory to identify changes and restore data immediately.