Step-by-Step Guide

Securing Windows domain controllers

Since domain controllers control the keys to the kingdom (or domain as it is called), they are essential to protect. Without protection of the domain controllers, there is nothing that an intruder or attacker could not access with regard to your Active Directory enterprise. There are some easy methods and configurations that you can take advantage of to improve the security of your domain controllers with not much effort. Taking these actions will increase the overall security of your domain controllers, Active Directory network, and enterprise as a whole.

When protecting domain controllers within an Active Directory enterprise, you need to consider the inherent vulnerabilities on a Windows system, as well as all of the avenues that an attacker will use to try to access the system. When you consider all of these factors, you then need to develop the solutions to protect against these attacks. We will discuss some methods to guard against the common attacks made against domain controllers. This will include physical access, network access, domain controller communication, and domain controller roles and locations in Active Directory.

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Securing Windows domain controllers

 Step 1: Physical Access
 Step 2: Network Access
 Step 3: Domain Controller Communications
 Step 4: Location and Responsibilities of Domain Controllers in Active Directory

Derek Melber, MCSE, MVP and CISM, is the director of compliance solutions for DesktopStandard Corp. He has written the only books on auditing Windows security available at The Institute of Internal Auditors' bookstore, and he also wrote the Group Policy Guide for Microsoft Press -- the only book Microsoft has written on Group Policy. You can contact Melber at
Copyright 2005 TechTarget

This was first published in March 2006

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