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Active Directory Security Audit

Active Directory (AD) is the foundation for the security and management of Windows Server IT infrastructure. AD stores and protects all the security groups that authorise access to all server resources and audit all identity and access management duties. Additionally, AD is a focal point for administration delegations in windows-based environments.

Because of the critical role AD plays in supporting an organisation’s IT infrastructure, a good percentage of access provisioning are done in AD to support an organisation’s business requirement, like supporting access to in-house applications or 3rd-party AD integrated application. AD also helps an organisation delegate administrative duties to meet IT management needs and manage costs.

What Is an Active Directory Security Audit?

Active Directory Security Auditing gathers information on an organisation’s Active directory attributes and objects for analysis. This is to determine and report on the Overall AD health, which is essential for regulatory compliance and better an organisation’s security posture. AD audit allows an organisation to review access rights to important resources and monitor the creation of new accounts. By default, AD doesn’t audit all security events. For better coverage, it is advisable to enable auditing on notable events to ensure security events logs are accounted for according to an organisation’s policies.

Although Active Directory’s goal is to simplify identity management operations within an organisation, sysadmins may encounter issues due to Active Directory’s default visibility limitations, which is why an Active Directory security audit is needed. Fortunately, Active Directory auditing best practices and Active Directory group’s best practices can assist SysAdmins in resolving these issues.

Why Active Directory Security Audit?

AD Security Auditing enables an organisation to reduce security risks significantly by discovering and remediating any threat associated with the Active Directory. There are many reasons organisations might want to perform an AD security audit, not limited to meeting compliance requirements like the SOX 404 mandate, which is a regulatory requirement in some industries to facilitate quick identification and rectification of application faults. Another reason organisations carry out AD security audits is to improve, preserve and protect IT operations by exposing any vulnerability or configuration flaws or token boats that can make the AD vulnerable.

Ten Active Directory elements every organisation should be auditing.

Below are some Active Directory security audits that should be documented out of the numerous Active Directory best practices to consider. The top 10 Active Directory components you should be auditing are listed below to assist you in distinguishing between the important and the unimportant.

  1. Activities Performed by Privileged Users

It’s critical to track and closely monitor the activity of privileged users since they can cause Active Directory vulnerabilities, whether on purpose or accidentally.

  1. Object Modifications

The likelihood of someone or something compromising an organisation’s Directory increases with unapproved, undetected, and ongoing item attribute modification. Although it can be challenging to audit object modifications because of the native Event Viewer feature, several Active Directory auditing solutions are available.

  1. Object Audit and Ownership Settings

Even though it’s frequently disregarded, ownership monitoring is one of the most crucial Active Directory auditing best practices. An organisation’s Active Directory auditing and reporting procedures should take proactive management and regular assessment of access controls and security limits into consideration because they are essential to the overall network governance.

  1. Access Rights and Security Permissions

Privileged users who abuse their privileges risk accidentally or maliciously disclosing sensitive information. For Active Directory sites and services, upholding the principle of least privilege, which entails only giving users the access privileges they need, is a crucial best practice.

  1. Inactive Accounts

It is best to include all inactive accounts in an organisation’s Active Directory security audits and reporting operations to guarantee Directory’s continued security. An organisation’s AD becomes exposed to hackers trying to access the systems when accounts go idle or become outdated.

  1. Object Deletions

IT administrators find it frustrating to restore Active Directory items that were destroyed accidentally or on purpose. It is best to be aware of any unauthorised deletions and promptly restore by reporting on object deletions in Active Directory security audit.

  1. Account Lockouts

Multiple failed logon events or stale credentials attempts might result in account lockouts, which can be quite frequent, but many failed login attempts may be a sign of an attack. Because of this, before re-enabling accounts, account lockouts must be looked into and confirmed as legitimate. Best practices include determining whether the account lockout will impact any other activities or objects during an audit.

  1. Password Modifications

If cybercriminals successfully breach an account in an organisation’s Active Directory, there are chances of exfiltering data. Implementing password restrictions and monitoring password alteration attempts can often stop a data breach.

  1. Logoff and Login Events

Monitoring logoff and login events, such as failed login attempts and concurrent logins, is another beneficial best practice for Active Directory auditing. When these occurrences deviate from the norm, they should be treated as suspicious activity.

  1. Schema Configuration Security

Another essential Active Directory best practice is to guarantee the security of the schema configuration. An organisation may avoid insider misuse and data leaks by protecting the network’s data and assets.

Conclusion

In conclusion, determining Active Directory’s effective permissions is part of an Active Directory Security Audit, and doing so frequently necessitates performing a thorough Active Directory Security Analysis.

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