What Are Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Microsoft Active Directory?

Reusable design components, multiple security groupings and reliable performance are some advantages of Microsoft Active Directory, while its high cost and inability to recover from hardware failure are some of its disadvantages. These types of benefits and issues make it a good fit with large enterprises.

Active Directory is flexible, enabling system architects to define elements such as computers, network servers, locations, security groups and staff in a way suited to a particular organization. One of its strongest features in large entities is the ability to perform software upgrades to all computers in an enterprise. Administrators create policies to schedule the regular distribution of security updates. Other policies track software versions and ensure consistency throughout the business.

Active Directory controls access to individual machines or cloud-hosted software using authentication. It enables granular security and privacy options, critical in cases of government-mandated privacy and audit requirements. Active Directory includes domains that allow partitioning of higher security groups from the rest of the network, such as separating the data from a state police group from general state information. It is scalable, allowing administrators to enlarge or reduce its structure as the need arises.

Active Directory includes security vulnerabilities identified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Those require frequent correction as technological advances occur promoting new cyber-attack methods.