Active Directory (AD) is a directory service developed by Microsoft for managing and organizing network resources. It provides a centralized database that stores information about network resources such as users, computers, printers, and security policies. Active Directory plays a critical role in organizing and managing network resources, facilitating efficient administration, and ensuring secure access to resources for users and computers within the domain.
Composable DataFlows now support querying Active Directory within your enterprise. Querying Active Directory allows IT administrators to extract valuable information about the network environment, users, groups, and other resources. This data can be used to generate various reports that provide insights into the network’s configuration, user activities, security, and more.
Some examples of potential reports that IT administrators can create by querying Active Directory within a DataFlow include:
- User Account Reports: IT administrators can query Active Directory to retrieve information about user accounts. This includes details such as user names, email addresses, phone numbers, last login dates, and account status. By generating user account reports, administrators can monitor user activity, identify inactive accounts for cleanup, and ensure compliance with security policies.
- Group Membership Reports: Active Directory allows users to be organized into groups. IT administrators can query Active Directory to extract information about group memberships. This report can provide a comprehensive view of which users belong to specific groups, facilitating access control management, identifying privileged users, and ensuring proper authorization and permissions.
- Security Group Reports: Security groups play a vital role in managing access rights and permissions within Active Directory. IT administrators can query Active Directory to generate reports on security groups, including their names, descriptions, and associated members. These reports can help identify and review the security groups in use, ensure proper assignment of group memberships, and identify any potential security vulnerabilities.
- Computer Inventory Reports: Active Directory contains information about the computers connected to the network. IT administrators can query Active Directory to extract details such as computer names, operating systems, IP addresses, last logon times, and hardware configurations. Computer inventory reports can assist with asset management, tracking software installations, identifying outdated systems, and planning hardware upgrades.
- Password Policy Reports: Active Directory enforces password policies that define rules for password complexity, expiration, and lockout settings. IT administrators can query Active Directory to generate reports on password policies in place. This enables them to review and assess the current password policy configuration, identify any weaknesses or gaps, and implement necessary changes to enhance security.
- Logon and Logoff Reports: By querying Active Directory’s logon and logoff events, IT administrators can generate reports that track user logon activities, including successful and failed logon attempts, logon durations, and logon locations. These reports can help monitor user behavior, identify potential security breaches or unauthorized access attempts, and investigate suspicious activities.
- Group Policy Reports: Active Directory’s Group Policy feature allows administrators to define and enforce specific configurations and settings on user and computer objects. IT administrators can query Active Directory to generate reports on Group Policy settings, ensuring consistency across the network, identifying conflicting policies, and assessing the impact of policy changes.
These are just a few examples of the reports that IT administrators can create in a DataFlow by querying Active Directory. By leveraging the wealth of information stored in Active Directory, administrators can gain valuable insights into the network environment, user management, security, and overall system health, empowering them to make informed decisions and effectively manage the network infrastructure.
Example: Use Active Directory to Generate an Organizational Chart with External Data
Querying Active Directory to create an organizational chart and enriching it with public data can provide valuable insights into the company’s structure and personnel. Let’s explore an example of how this can be done:
- Active Directory Query: First, the IT administrator would query Active Directory to retrieve information about user accounts, their roles, and reporting relationships. This would involve extracting data such as employee names, job titles, departments, and the hierarchical structure of the organization.
In the Designer, simply search and drag-and-drop the Active Directory Query Module onto the canvas.
For inputs, specify the:
- LDAP Server (e.g., LDAP://ldapservername). To get a list of the LDAP servers, run the following command on the commandline: nltest /dclist:DOMAINNAME. [Replace DOMAINNAME with the name of your domain.]
- Filter: For example, the query input for users would be: (&(objectCategory=person)(objectClass=user)(!userAccountControl:1.2.840.1135184.108.40.2063:=2))
- Columns: The column input can be used to select only certain fields. A good starting set of fields to cover most use cases would be the following:[“givenname”,”mail”,”title”,”homephone”,”department”,”telephonenumber”,”userprincipalname”,”description”,”st”,”samaccountname”,”initials”,”sn”,”cn”,”name”]
Once you retrieve the desired table of users from Active Directory, the following next steps can be taken:
- Data Enrichment: The IT administrator can enrich the resulting table with public data to enhance the information available for each employee. Public data sources, such as professional networking platforms or public directories, can be leveraged to retrieve additional details like profile pictures, educational backgrounds, work history, and professional achievements.
- Integration and Data Matching: The administrator would integrate the Active Directory data with the public data, ensuring that the information is accurately matched to the corresponding employees. This can be achieved through various matching techniques, such as using unique identifiers like email addresses or names.
- Visual Representation: With the enriched data, the administrator can generate an interactive and visually appealing organizational chart. This chart can be presented using graphical tools or web-based applications that allow users to navigate through the hierarchy, view employee profiles, and access relevant information.
- Data Accessibility and Collaboration: The created org chart can be made accessible to employees within the organization, enabling them to search for colleagues, explore reporting structures, and access contact information. This promotes collaboration, streamlines communication, and facilitates knowledge sharing across teams and departments.
By leveraging Active Directory queries from within Composable, and enriching it with public data, IT administrators can create an interactive and detailed org chart that goes beyond basic employee information. This enriched org chart becomes a valuable resource for employees, promoting transparency, collaboration, and better understanding of the organization’s dynamics.