It’s quite obvious who I’m speaking to in this blog post. If you have your Active Directory (AD) information completely under control, then I salute you as you’ve done your job! It’s the other IT managers and administrators I’m after here and let me tell you why…
As an IT manager or administrator, keeping your IT department running and secure is obviously a vital part of your job. This includes Active Directory management. Active Directory (AD) is one of the cornerstones in your IT infrastructure. It doesn’t really matter if you’re running most of your company’s programs and services in the cloud or locally, your Active Directory is what you need to tie everything together. This includes users, passwords, printers, and more. Of course, we (this includes you) already know that.
One of the strengths of Active Directory is user management, permissions, and shares among other things, which is quite neat but nothing new or revolutionary. Nor is the fact that you can enter all details of your users into Active DIrectory, such as titles, telephone numbers, and organizational belonging; you can even create an American old-school hierarchy by adding managers and direct reports. The latter is not widely used though because it is basically useless, but the management of user information has its obvious value.
Most systems and programs integrate with Active Directory and utilize the user information stored in Active Directory. For an example of this, see Outlook’s address book, where you can get this information directly from Active Directory. Do you want other examples? There are many. SharePoint uses that information and Azure Active Directory can sync with your on-premises Active Directory to access vital information out. Needless to say, as an IT manager or administrator, Active Directory management is extremely important.
Let me guess: you probably think it’s a boring task. And it really can be if you don’t automate it. It may not be an attractive task to get your system administrator to manually keep Active Directory up-to-date based on amended user information, but that is absolutely no excuse for not doing it! Something must be completed even if they’re mundane. And the good news is that there are options available to make your job easier.
There are tools and programs out there that can automate this process for you. You have the information somewhere. As is often the case, this information is stored in an SQL database. So if that’s the case, get it out from SQL and update your Active Directory! It is not that difficult – don’t only see the holes in the cheese.
Let’s say that someone from HR has the data in a spreadsheet. If this is true, then have HR share the sheet with your IT team and code an automated update into Active Directory from this spreadsheet. There’s even free tools out there for this purpose. If you don’t have anyone to code it, find a freelancer and pay her a few hours to code it. There are always ways to update your Active Directory.
There are even advanced tools out there where you can map fields, format them, deal with missing information, and all that. There is absolutely no excuse for not keeping your Active Directory up-to-date whatsoever. Does it sound like we’re beating a dead horse here? That’s because we are. Keep your Active Directory updated!
So what’s my purpose for writing this little rant? Well, wouldn’t you know it, we hear the same complaint over and over again from IT professionals. “Naahh no we cannot use Xink because our Active Directory is not up to date.” Our response to that is thus: 1. Let us just say that this is a poor excuse; and 2. If this really is such a big problem, then let your business take care of it because you can in fact roll out Xink even without a proper Active Directory in place. This is because we allow users themselves to update their own information manually.
So… Do something about it!! It is neither difficult nor hard. Centralized email signature management is within your reach.
It will probably not get you a promotion or an increase in budget if you solve your Active Directory problems. That being said, you will get better solutions and the peace and quiet that comes from users and vendors who appreciate you taking this step. It does your team no good to have users who don’t understand why you can’t take care of this simple little thing. And in vendors’ eyes, you will get credit for having sorted this problem once and for all. It will seem (rightfully so) like you run a professionally driven IT environment.
We’ve helped lots of customers with issues related to Active Directory, so don’t use time and/or economy as an excuse. We can help you with it, too.
And if you really really refuse, then use our API to update user information instead of from your Active Directory..
And now, back to work…