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Active Directory literally sits in the middle of everything.  As the King of IT Infrastructure, it holds the ceremonial middle spot in any server rack.  Well, maybe I’m mis-using literally.  But figuratively? You bet it sits in the middle of everything.

Square made from a group of tennis ballsWe have carved out a niche as THE software solution for managing Active Directory groups. Some days I think it would be nice to not be in a “niche” but then I realize I’m mis-using that term also. Because this “niche” is huge, a veritable canyon of a market. Because everyone uses Active Directory groups.

The top use is, of course, email. If you had to type out every email address of the people in marketing when you wanted to send something to them, you would give up on email.

The top access related use for Active Directory groups is granting access to files and folders. It is considered best practice to never grant access to an individual user even if that is the only user that needs access. For this reason, over 93% of organizations use Active Directory groups to grant access to the file system.

The number that we expect to grow when we re-run this survey in the Spring is access to systems. Currently about 78% of organizations grant access to systems based on group membership. I think this will go up based on cloud adoption. As I outlined in the post on “Using AD groups for cloud identity management,” more cloud single sign on vendors are using on premise Active Directory groups to determine who should have access to cloud apps.

As confusing as Group Policy Objects are and can be, they are at their most valuable when applying them to Active Directory groups. This way you can get more granular than just “everybody in that OU” should be able to VPN to the network. 72% of organizations use AD groups for GPOs.

The next number is surprisingly low. When we last ran the survey, only 52% of organizations use Active Directory groups for SharePoint access. That number is now up to over 70%, primarily due to the increased adoption of SharePoint 2010. My belief is that it will grow even higher by Spring.

Take a look a the summary of our research report and see how your organization’s use of Active Directory groups stacks up. Then take a look at a demo when you realize just how important Active Directory group accuracy is to you.

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