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Active Directory (AD) is the backbone of many IT infrastructures. It is responsible for managing permissions and access to user accounts. For IT administrators, regular AD updates are a must to maintain workflow efficiency and security.

However, manual updates can be time-consuming and prone to errors. This is where automation comes into play. It can automatically complete updates to keep your workflow on schedule.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to implement automated AD updates. We’ll also provide details that can help you understand AD as well as the importance and benefits of automation.

What Is Active Directory?

Active Directory, also known as Microsoft Entra ID, is a directory service developed by Microsoft for Windows domain networks. With this centralized system, IT administrators can manage user data and distribute resources from one place.

Other common uses of Active Directory include:

  • User management: AD lets you create, delete, and manage user accounts and passwords.
  • Authentication: You can verify user identities and provide secure access to network data through AD.
  • Authorization: Assigning and enforcing settings for different users and groups is easier than ever, thanks to AD.
  • Directory services: AD maintains a database of networked devices and services for easy access and management.
  • Resource management: With AD, you can manage access to files, printers, and other network resources.
  • Policy enforcement: Use Active Directory to apply and enforce security policies across your IT organization.

Why Do You Need to Automate Active Directory Updates?

Manual AD updates can be a real headache. They are often time-consuming and prone to human error.

Each change, no matter how small, needs careful attention to ensure it doesn’t disrupt your network.

This can lead to inconsistent AD updates, security risks, and compliance issues. IT teams can end up spending countless hours on routine tasks, such as new user creation, user provisioning, and manual data transfer.

Automation changes your workflow. It enables IT users to focus on more critical tasks, which can improve efficiency.

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What Are the Benefits of Automating AD Updates?

Automating AD updates offers numerous advantages that can improve your IT operations. Let’s explore these benefits in detail below.

Increase IT Efficiency and Productivity

Automation takes over any repetitive tasks. There’s no need to worry about managing user accounts or updating permissions and group policies. AD automation can immediately execute these jobs without manual intervention.

Thanks to AD automation, your IT team is free to focus on strategic initiatives like planning for future growth. IT users can also work more efficiently and productively.

Improve Accuracy and Consistency

Human errors and discrepancies are inevitable, especially with repetitive tasks.

Luckily, automation ensures that the new version of AD is installed accurately across the entire network. This reduces the risk of misconfigurations and inconsistencies.

Armed with consistent AD updates, your IT organization can maintain a stable and predictable system.

Enhance Security

Regular and timely updates are key to maintaining IT security.

Automating AD means you can apply security patches and updates as soon as they are available. This proactive behavior can reduce the window of network vulnerability.

Enforcing security policies consistently is also easier, thanks to automation. It ensures all users and logged-in devices comply with your organization’s standards.

Accelerate Response Times

Automated updates can be deployed much faster than manual processes. They are crucial in dynamic IT environments where you need to implement changes promptly.

Thanks to this quick response time, IT teams can minimize downtime and resolve issues on schedule. This also leads to reduced IT onboarding tickets.

Ensure Compliance and Auditing

Keeping accurate records of AD updates is integral to compliance and auditing purposes.

Fortunately, automation provides a clear and consistent log of all actions taken. Armed with this transparency, your organization can simplify the auditing process. Meeting regulatory practices and requirements is also possible.

Scale with Ease

As your IT business grows, managing AD updates becomes increasingly difficult. You need to add more users to the systems or create new accounts, for example.

Now, imagine doing all that manually. That will take a lot of valuable time and resources.

Luckily, automated systems can effortlessly scale with your organization. With automation, handling an increased volume of updates is a piece of cake. Your IT operations can easily keep up with your company’s growth.

Reduce Operational Costs

Cost savings are another significant benefit of automating AD updates.

Since it eliminates the need for manual updates, IT companies don’t need to hire more staff to complete tasks.

Automation allows IT administrators to minimize downtime. There’s no need to pay for costs associated with resolving issues created by human oversight or mistakes.

Over a time period, these savings can add up and provide a substantial return on investment.

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How to Set Up Automation for AD Updates

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of automating AD updates let’s discuss how you can automate your IT operations. Follow these five simple steps below:

1. Choose the Right Automation Tools

Start by selecting the right tools for your needs. 

Assess these tools based on their features, ease of use, and compatibility with your existing systems. For example, ezOnboard is known to be both easy-to-use and customizable to any business.

2. Develop and Test Automation Scripts

After choosing your preferred tools, you’re now ready to develop scripts for common AD update jobs.

Example tasks include creating new accounts from CSV files, updating permissions, and managing group memberships.

It’s important to test these scripts thoroughly in a controlled environment to ensure they work as expected.

3. Train IT Staff

You can’t expect all IT employees to know how to use automation tools and scripts from day one. That’s why it’s important to provide training sessions and invaluable resources like tutorials and documentation.

Armed with this information, your IT department can familiarize themselves with the new processes. And in no time, they can use tools and develop effective scripts.

4. Monitor and Maintain Automated Processes

AD automation doesn’t end with script development and training. You must also review logs and reports to keep things running smoothly.

Consider using automated monitoring tools to track the status of automated systems. The tool’s notification feature allows you to quickly address issues and prevent disruptions.

5. Integrate Active Directory into Your HR System

Integrating AD with your HR system, like Workday, can further streamline processes.

For example, the IT or HR department adds a new employee to the HR system. With AD automation, new accounts are automatically created, and permissions are set according to their roles. There’s no need for manual data entry, resulting in synchronized updates across the IT infrastructure.

Let’s also take a look at a case study from ezOnboard, software that automates IT onboarding and offboarding. A U.S. medical imaging provider integrated their AD with an HR system using ezOnboard. 

This change resulted in an updated Active Directory working seamlessly with the medical imaging provider’s HR system. The IT department ultimately retains visibility, control, and security across network resources.

Automate AD Updates with ezOnboard

Seamless Onboarding Process Automation With ezOnboard

ezOnboard by CloudView Partners offers a smooth and automated employee onboarding and offboarding experience. This innovative system seamlessly integrates an organization’s HR software with Active Directory. It automatically updates employee details when changes are made in the HR platform.

With ezOnboard, you can transform the traditional, often cumbersome, onboarding process into a more efficient and error-free operation.

To get started, request a demo or check the ROI calculator to see how much money ezOnboard can save you.

FAQs About Automating AD Updates

What is AD automation?

AD automation involves using tools and scripts to manage and update Active Directory automatically. Creating new accounts, updating permissions, and maintaining group memberships can be completed without manual interventions. 

What is the best tool for automating AD updates?

The best tool for AD automation depends on your specific needs. It’s important to evaluate each one’s features based on your IT requirements. Popular options include ezOnboard, PowerShell, ADManager Plus, and Ansible. 

How can automating AD updates improve IT efficiency?

AD automation can handle repetitive tasks automatically and free up your IT team’s schedule. This lets them focus on strategic projects, improve response times, and enhance network efficiency.

 

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