Disaster Recovery for Your Domain Controller
by Kate Smith, Director, Sales & Marketing
When thinking about Disaster Recovery, we always talk about backups. Backup solutions are varied from on-premises to cloud-based or a hybrid of both, and can include everything from virtual machines, folders and files, databases, emails, and data. While it’s clear that data backups are important, it’s equally vital to back up the systems that provide access to that data; specifically, the Domain Controller and Active Directory.
First and foremost, what is a Domain Controller? According to webopedia.com, “Abbreviated as DC, a Domain Controller is a server on a Microsoft Windows or Windows NT network that is responsible for allowing host access to Windows domain resources. The Domain Controllers in your network are the centerpiece of your Active Directory directory service. It stores user account information, authenticates users and enforces security policy for a Windows domain.” (webopedia.com, 2015) In basic terminology, networked computers all access a server using a Windows Operating System that provides access to specific resources including email, files, folders, printers, etc. The policies and rules that govern this access are all defined by the Domain Controller. In addition, the DC provides critical DNS infrastructure for Internet access and website name resolution.
That being said, what happens to your network in the event your Domain Controller is unavailable because of hardware issues or is compromised and unable to be recovered?
Since the DC is responsible for centralized login, if the DC is unavailable, network resources are unavailable and users are prohibited access. Further a compromised and/or unrecoverable DC will cause a major disruption to any business. It could take hours or days to rebuild a Domain Controller and Active Directory to its proper state (all dependent upon the size and complexity of the network infrastructure). So ask yourself, what would it mean to your business if suddenly everything came to a screeching halt?
Fortunately, a disaster recovery solution for a Domain Controller and Active Directory isn’t very complex and can be setup quite easily. A disaster recovery solution for DC will replicate the physical or virtual DC and AD to protect critical data and provide rapid recovery in the event of a disaster. Additional resources can also be backed up including file servers, VPN servers, web servers, SQL servers, application servers, Exchange servers or any specialty servers.
A replicated DC and AD will provide an off-site backup of your authentication structure for simple recovery of key systems. These replications can be configured as hot or cold-standby options to ensure seamless recovery if required. Implementing a DR scheme for your DC and AD is a simple step and one that can save you time and frustration later.
webopedia.com. (2015). Domain Controller. Webopedia.com.
About the Author
Kate Smith, SecurElement’s Director, Sales & Marketing is responsible for SecurElement’s overall sales and marketing strategy as well as ongoing partner relationships with organizations such as Microsoft, Cisco, Barracuda and many others.