Active Directory (AD) is a directory service that automates network management of user data, security and distributed resources. It is a core component of Microsoft's Windows server infrastructure and has been designed to provide a secure environment for managing users, services and resources. Its main purpose is to provide centralised authentication and authorisation for services such as email, collaboration tools, databases, applications and file shares across Windows domains. As such, it is considered to be a mission-critical part of the network infrastructure and is crucial for the internal security of the network through its ability to mitigate internal threats. But it's not the easiest system to use, which can undermine its security benefits. Active Directory is a core component of the network infrastructure of many organisational networks and is crucial for the internal security of the network by mitigating internal threats. However, managing it is often a complex, time-consuming task. Configuration errors can lead to serious security vulnerabilities. Organisations should look for addon tools that automate many of the processes involved and that ease many of the management pains and complexity. These will streamline many processes, and ensure changes do not impact the overall security posture of the organisation, explains Colin Tankard of Digital Pathways.