Active Directory is a system that allows an entire computer network to be controlled from a single, central location by a network administrator. Through the use of Group Policy Objects, the administrator of your network can control the way that daily tasks are done throughout your company, permitting or restricting access to specific elements as necessary.

How Does Active Directory Work?

There are a number of issues that may arise if your company computer network is inefficiently connected, or worse yet, not connected at all. Computers running completely independently of one another, called workgroups, make sharing information within your organization so much more frustrating and stressful than necessary. One of the biggest benefits of Group Policy, an element of Active Directory that helps define user settings, is that you can keep all of your users’ information stored on a central server, and can control all of their activities on your network.

Most companies have employees that have varying levels of responsibilities, and as such there are certain people who need access to sensitive information that shouldn’t be shared amongst everyone. With Active Directory, your network administrator can make these kinds of privileged files and directories accessible only to the members of your team who need to use them.

Likewise, most companies have different team members or even entire departments that collaborate on jobs, projects, and activities throughout their workdays. In these cases, it’s integral to the fluidity of your workflow that everyone has access to shared files and folders so that they can perform without interruption. Your network administrator can set specific permissions to deny or allow access to any part of your organization, controlling all users from a single location.

All of this information is able to be shared because it’s stored centrally. This means that employees aren’t saving their work on their local hard drives, which are the physical drives within their specific machines, but rather to a mapped drive that’s connected to the network. It’s from this location that all files can be accessed by other users on the network. This provides a more secure network from which your company can operate, because it can all be easily backed up and regularly scanned to ensure it hasn’t been penetrated by malware.

Data, files, folders, and other information aren’t the only things that Active Directory helps your company share; Active Directory also allows network users to share hardware. Just as you can permit users to access shared files and drives, you can also permit their machines to communicate with other devices, such as printers, scanners, etc. Imagine having to have a printer for every single computer in your office—that would be wildly costly and absolutely inefficient. Suppose you have a general printer, and then a high-quality printer for the purposes of printing official client documents, design proofs, etc. Using Active Directory, you could give access to the general printer to all of your employees, but only give access to the high-quality printer to the people who need to print those types of documents. This saves you both the money and hassle of having other people accidentally printing unimportant documents on the high-quality printer.

Still asking yourself, “How does active directory work?” If you have more questions, let us know on Facebook and we’ll be sure to provide the answers! If your office is ready to step up its game with Active Directory, give the pros at TCI Technologies a call at (516) 484-5151 to get started today!

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