Active Directory has become synonymous with corporate authentication over the last decade. Most organizations with over a hundred users will generally have a directory service based authentication framework and in many organizations that tends to be AD. The reasons for this are plentiful I'm sure, but not the scope of this entry.
The popularity of AD has several impacts. Firstly, the increased usage, as with any piece of software, is a catalyst for a growing support community including things like best practice papers, forums, consultancy firms and so on. However an increasing reliance on AD often leads to key system administration concerns such as how to manage the users, groups and resources housed within the directory.
Key concerns for any administrator and increasingly audit and compliance officers is how to manage things like the number of orphan accounts, redundant accounts, terminated accounts, redundant groups, misaligned groups, share management, share ownership and so on.
Oracle's Identity Analytics product allows the analysis of all of the enterprises' resources including directories, databases, mainframes and other user repositories. User, group and share data can be automatically imported into OIA's warehouse where orphan account data can be automatically reported against. Using a hierarchical based approach to viewing user entitlements, OIA can represent a users relationship right from their AD account, the groups associated with the account and in turn the folder, file and associated server access control entries on that data.
This allows a certification and data analysis process to take place in order to remove redundant user and group data in order to increase security and reduce risk.
As many organizations continue to establish an Active Directory platform, they tend to focus new systems and applications on AD as the main authentication and sometimes authorization point. This can lead to further issues with group and data ownership and the misalignment of permissions increasing the need for a deep dive analytics and certification solution.