Active directory security groups best practices

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It only takes a minute to sign up. But now I am wondering if there are any best practises when it comes to adding Active Directory groups to "computer"-local groups.

And I would like to manage the group of people having access to it via an AD group. What security principals need to be members of the group? For instance, if you have to include security principals from other domains of the forest in this security group, then you'll have to make it a Domain Local or Universal group.

If you only need to include members of the same domain in this security group, you can use a Global security group. What resources you will need to control access to with respect to this group?

If you have a situation where you need span domains in a very flexible way, you might want resort to a Universal group. Global groups are good for keeping replication to the global catalog to a minimum I'm not sure that Microsoft has ever published a best practice on this particular scenario.

It differs from the typical scenarios in that you're not ultimately placing an access control list into the filesystem. A quick search of their site doesn't come up with any good results. In a single domain scenario the most common thing out there I'd use Group Policy Restricted Groups functionality to nest a global group from the domain into the "Remote Desktop Users" group on computers. I feel like this method is sufficiently "visible" to allow for future auditing.

I will, of course, have different Restricted Groups settings applied to different "classes" of computers. I don't see a need for the domain local group to abstract the role away from the resource, because I see Group Policy satisfying that requirement. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Adding an Active Directory to a computer-local group - which scope to choose?

Ask Question. Asked 5 years, 5 months ago.AD is a centralized, standard system that allows system administrators to automatically manage their domains, account users, and devices computers, printers, etc.

But perhaps most importantly, it gives system administrators control over passwords and access levels within their network to manage various groups within the system. At the same time, Active Directory can also help support the ability for users to more easily access resources across the network. The structure is important to understand for effective Active Directory administrationas good storage and organization practices are key to building a secure hierarchy.

The following are some basic structural aspects of Active Directory management:. AD is comprised of two main groups—distribution groups and security groups. Distribution groups are built primarily to distribute emails. When possible, users should be assigned to distribution groups rather than security groups, since membership in too many security groups could lead to slow logon functionality.

On the other hand, security groups allow IT to manage access to shared resources by controlling user and computer access. Security groups can be used to assign security rights within the AD network. These groups can also be used for email distribution.

Each security group is assigned a set of user rights, dictating their abilities within the forest. For example, some groups may be able to restore files, while others are not.

These groups give IT control over group policy settings, meaning permissions can be changed across multiple computers. Permissions differ from rights—they apply to shared resources within a domain.

The simplest way to understand permissions is to think of Google Docs. The owner of such a document can decide who has permission to edit their work, who can comment on it, and which parties can merely view the document. Security group permissions are similar. Certain groups may have more access than others when it comes to shared resources.

Microsoft has outlined three main scopes within AD:. Groups can also become members of other groups. This is called group nesting. Nesting is a helpful way to manage your AD based on business roles, functions, and management rules.I have the great task of separating Security Groups from Distribution groups within our Active Directory Not my doing.

While working on this project I have been asked to think about naming convention and re-doing this. So I am curious to what other's have done.

active directory security groups best practices

What do you do for naming convention? The two suggestions so far are good. You want to distinguish Global vs. Security vs. You can also group the types of groups in separate OUs in AD. You also don't want the name to be annoyingly long.

Active Directory Best Practices

That is what the description is for in the group properties. We have upwards of DLs. Large Company and everyone thinks they need a DL for something. We are also encouraging people to create their own DL within Outlook when applicable. Our OUs are in good shape. I just need to clean house! Now they can't even edit the members of DLs they're set as the owners of. As for group naming, I was thinking about this recently.

Best Practices for Securing Active Directory

Probably bad in 7 different ways, but simple and effective. A -RW was optional, but typically implied by the lack of -RO. Don't get too wrapped up in forcing too much detail into the name. That's what the description field is for. User managed DL would be a dream.

User cannot even manage members in our environment. They have to create a ticket! We current use Description and Notes field. Ever DL has an owner and the owner has to approve any changes. Sounds like what we have is in pretty decent shape. Just needs a bit of clean up!

The Ultimate Guide to Active Directory Best Practices in 2020

To continue this discussion, please ask a new question. Get answers from your peers along with millions of IT pros who visit Spiceworks. Active Directory Management Research Guide. Active Directory We found 4 helpful replies in similar discussions:. Fast Answers! SysSquatch Aug 14, Active Directory is essentially a registry containing all the information about a network, including users, groups, computers and printers, and servers. This is why maintaining Active Directory security is absolutely vital for keeping your organization safe from intrusion.

In Active Directory, the layout follows a tier structure comprising domains, trees, and forests. A domain is a group of objects such as users or devices sharing the same Active Directory database. A tree is a collection of domains, and a forest is a collection of trees. Active Directory groups users, devices, and other objects so they can be managed as a single object.

There are two main types of groups in Active Directory: distribution groups and security groups. Distribution groups are solely for email distributionfor use with Microsoft Exchange or Outlookfor example. You can add or remove users from the group depending on whether you want them to receive the relevant email messages.

Some of these resources could be confidential, sensitive, or critical to the organization. As a result, these security groups need to be carefully managed in terms of access, permissions, and auditing. Active Directory groups are characterized by their scope. There are four levels of scope:. Understanding how to approach all these groups with a best-practice mindset is key to keeping your system secure.

Attackers can enter your system by obtaining the credentials for a user, or by compromising an account using a virus, through which they can then give themselves further user privileges to access resources. If an attacker gains entry to your Active Directory and compromises a vital security group or account, your entire system can quickly be compromised as well.

By setting up good security protections, minimizing exposure, and continuously monitoring, you will be well-positioned to keep your systems safe from attack. This is why I recommend using a solution like Access Rights Manager from SolarWinds to support monitoring and managing your Active Directory security groups and help ensure your overall organizational safety.

User rights can be assigned to a security group, to determine what the users within the group can do within a domain or forest. For some security groups, user rights are automatically assigned for administration purposes. Assign permissions for resources. User permissions are different than user rights. Rights determine the abilities users have, whereas permissions relate to access to resources.

Some permissions are automatically assigned to default security groups, including the Account Operators and Domain Admins groups.

active directory security groups best practices

These groups are created automatically when you create an Active Directory domain. Due to their automatic security permissions, you need to take extra care in managing these groups.

There are four levels of scope: Local — Local groups are specific to and available only on the computer they were created on. Domain local — Domain local groups can be applied anywhere in the domain and can be useful for managing resource permissions. A domain local group can include members of any type, as well as members from trusted domains.This document provides a practitioner's perspective and contains a set of practical techniques to help IT executives protect an enterprise Active Directory environment.

Active Directory plays a critical role in the IT infrastructure, and ensures the harmony and security of different network resources in a global, interconnected environment. The methods discussed are based largely on the Microsoft Information Security and Risk Management ISRM organization's experience, which is accountable for protecting the assets of Microsoft IT and other Microsoft Business Divisions, in addition to advising a selected number of Microsoft Global customers.

Executive Summary. Attractive Accounts for Credential Theft. Reducing the Active Directory Attack Surface. Implementing Least-Privilege Administrative Models. Implementing Secure Administrative Hosts. Securing Domain Controllers Against Attack.

Monitoring Active Directory for Signs of Compromise. Audit Policy Recommendations. Maintaining a More Secure Environment. Appendix L: Events to Monitor. You may also leave feedback directly on GitHub. Skip to main content. Exit focus mode. Yes No. Any additional feedback? Skip Submit. Send feedback about This product This page.This is the most comprehensive list of Active Directory Security Tips and best practices you will find.

active directory security groups best practices

In this guide, I will share my tips on securing domain admins, local administrators, audit policies, monitoring AD for compromise, password policies, vulnerability scanning and much more. There should be no day to day user accounts in the Domain Admins group, the only exception is the default Domain Administrator account.

Members of the DA group are to powerful. They have local admin rights on every domain joined system workstation, servers, laptops, etc.

Microsoft recommends that when DA access is needed, you temporarily place the account in the DA group. When the work is done you should remove the account from the DA group. Once attackers gain access to one system they can move laterally within a network to seek out higher permissions domain admins.

Pass the hash allows an attacker to use the password hash to authenticate to remote systems instead of the regular password. All it takes is one compromised computer or user account for an attacker to compromise a network. Cleaning up the Domain Admins group is a great first step to increasing your network security. This can defiantly slow down an attacker. The process to remove accounts from the DA group is not easy. Before you start removing accounts from this group, document and review the accounts with your team.

Gain better control of access through a centralized application. You should not be logging in every day with an account that is a local admin or has privileged access Domain Admin.

Instead create two accounts, a regular account with no admin rights and a privileged account that is used only for administrative tasks. Instead, follow the least privilege administrative model.

Basically, this means all users should log on with an account that has the minimum permissions to complete their work. You may read in other articles and forums to put your secondary account in the Domain Admins group. This is not a Microsoft best practice and I would advise against it. Again temporary is OK but it needs to be removed as soon as the work is done.

You should use a regular non admin account for day to day tasks such as checking email, browsing the internet, ticket system and so on. You would only use the privileged account when you need to perform admin tasks such as creating a user in Active Directory, logging into a server, adding a DNS record, etc.

Steve logs into his computer with a privileged account, checks his email and inadvertently downloads a virus. Since Steve is a member of the DA group the virus has full rights to his computer, all servers, all files, and the entire domain. This could cause serious damage and result in critical systems going down. Steve checks his email and inadvertently downloads a virus. The virus has limited access to the computer and no access to the domain or other servers.

This would cause minimal damage and prevent the virus from spreading through the network. Here are some common tasks that can be delegated to a secondary admin account. Some organizations use more than two accounts and use a tiered approach.This reference topic for the IT professional describes the default Active Directory security groups.

These accounts represent a physical entity a person or a computer.

Creating and Administering User Accounts in Active Directory on Windows Server 2012

User accounts can also be used as dedicated service accounts for some applications. Security groups are used to collect user accounts, computer accounts, and other groups into manageable units. Groups are used to collect user accounts, computer accounts, and other groups into manageable units.

Working with groups instead of with individual users helps simplify network maintenance and administration. Distribution groups can be used only with email applications such as Exchange Server to send email to collections of users. Distribution groups are not security enabled, which means that they cannot be listed in discretionary access control lists DACLs.

Security groups can provide an efficient way to assign access to resources on your network. By using security groups, you can:. User rights are assigned to a security group to determine what members of that group can do within the scope of a domain or forest.

This is possible because, by default, the user rights Backup files and directories and Restore files and directories are automatically assigned to the Backup Operators group. Therefore, members of this group inherit the user rights that are assigned to that group. Permissions are different than user rights. Permissions are assigned to the security group for the shared resource.

Permissions determine who can access the resource and the level of access, such as Full Control. Some permissions that are set on domain objects are automatically assigned to allow various levels of access to default security groups, such as the Account Operators group or the Domain Admins group. Security groups are listed in DACLs that define permissions on resources and objects. When assigning permissions for resources file shares, printers, and so onadministrators should assign those permissions to a security group rather than to individual users.

The permissions are assigned once to the group, instead of several times to each individual user. Like distribution groups, security groups can be used as an email entity. Sending an email message to the group sends the message to all the members of the group. Groups are characterized by a scope that identifies the extent to which the group is applied in the domain tree or forest.

The scope of the group defines where the group can be granted permissions. This group scope and group type cannot be changed. The following table lists the three group scopes and more information about each scope for a security group. Local groups on computers in the same domain, excluding built-in groups that have well-known SIDs.

Top 25 Active Directory Security Best Practices

Special identities are generally referred to as groups. Special identity groups do not have specific memberships that can be modified, but they can represent different users at different times, depending on the circumstances.

For information about all the special identity groups, see Special Identities. You can use these predefined groups to help control access to shared resources and to delegate specific domain-wide administrative roles.

Many default groups are automatically assigned a set of user rights that authorize members of the group to perform specific actions in a domain, such as logging on to a local system or backing up files and folders.

For example, a member of the Backup Operators group has the right to perform backup operations for all domain controllers in the domain. When you add a user to a group, the user receives all the user rights that are assigned to the group and all the permissions that are assigned to the group for any shared resources. The Builtin container includes groups that are defined with the Domain Local scope. The Users includes contains groups that are defined with Global scope and groups that are defined with Domain Local scope.


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