How Active Directory Works in the Corporate World

Microsoft’s Active Directory or AD is an organizational database of all objects, users, and server names in a network. It’s basically a database system that connects all the individual computers in a network, allowing for easy sharing of files. It is also through this database that network administrators can grant permissions to grant permissions to specific users.


The easiest way to think of active directory is to remember how you used to have access on your school’s computer network. Students back then were given a username and password so you can log onto any computer on the network. Upon startup, you will be able to access all the files and drives in the network, as long as your account was granted permission. Basically, any computer on the network that you logged onto was your personal computer, at least for the moment.

How it works in a corporate setting

Active directory is the solution preferred by many companies around the world. In fact, more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 firms still use this 1990s technology. After all, most of the infrastructure of companies remains based on the network architecture that was started during the said decade.

Active directory in the workplace matters because it can safeguard the security of the network and the company by having all user accounts and password information for the network stored in a single and protected location. It is through active directory that a network administrator will be able to see activities going on in the network, and enable IT to monitory employee productivity and transfer of information.

With active directory, network administrators can grant permission to individual users to files or drive on the network so that they can use the resources as needed. For instance, company A has a directory for all HR-relevant documents on its network. These networks can include forms that employees have to submit to HR like filing of leave, formal requests or complaints, among others.

The network administrator can give all users in the network read-only access to the said directory, meaning all employees can view the files, or print them out. However, they cannot delete or make any changes to the documents. Only the HR manager, supervisor, or even a staff member has the network administrator’s permission to edit files stored within the directory.

Simply put, without active directory, each computer in the office is a standalone machine that doesn’t communicate with each other. Worse, it would require users to go through authentication every time they want to share or access information from another computer.

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Integrating software in the active directory

Business owners or decision makers should know that any software or program that they would like their workers to use must be easily integrated into the active directory. Active directory integration provides numerous advantages to end users and the company itself.

For the company, including its IT team, active directory integration results to faster deployment of any software. Instant messaging systems, desktop alerts, email notification, and other communication software can be installed and run on the network through active directory integration. Network administrators can perform various tasks like adding and managing users, creating custom groups, scheduling synchronization dates and times, and more.

For the workers, active directory integration means simplified way of logging on to a program. For one, they don’t need to have multiple user IDs and passwords to be able to access different software applications. Moreover, they don’t have to go through redundant authentication processes just to be able to use a program.

Indeed, active directory promotes effective management of business processes that can to greater efficiency and productivity in the workplace.