Active Directory Basics

New to Active Directory?  Just want some basic information?  A refresher?  Let’s start with some Active Directory basics.

What is Active Directory?

Active Directory is a collection of services used for centralized identity and access management for and to resources on a network. Active Directory stores and manages information about network resources.

The Five Pillars of Active Directory

1.  Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)

AD DS provides a centralized system for managing users, computers and other resources on a network utilizing a common management interface.

  • Uses the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).
  • Provides authentication services – who you are.
  • Provides authorization services – what you can do.

2.  Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS)

AD CS is the implementation of a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for the issuance and management of digital certificates.

  • Provides the infrastructure to create, store, distribute, revoke digital certificates for service, client, server and user identification.

3.  Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)

AD FS provides a way to allow network access to and from external resources.

  • Grants Resource access across traditional boundaries.
  • Offers Web single sign-on (SSO) capabilities.

4.  Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)

AD LDS provides hierarchical file-based directory/information store capability without the overhead of a full AD DS installation.

  • Uses the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).

5.  Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS)

AD RMS provides data protection.

  • Maintains security of data both internally and externally.
  • Safeguards digital information.
  • Provides a way to specify access permissions to documents/workbooks/presentations.