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Active Directory on your iPhone? There’s an app for that

A new app could help simplify the management of Active Directory-related help desk calls straight from your mobile phone. It’s called AD HelpDesk, a brand new iPhone app designed to aid with the most common of all help desk requests – password issues.

AD HelpDesk was designed by software developer John Bowers in response to some of the issues involved with remotely handling AD account unlock and password reset requests. A study by Gartner estimated that more than 30% of all help-desk calls are password-related, and naturally these calls don’t stop coming in just because you are out of the office. Bowers said that he was inspired after talking with someone who was faced with the challenge of using a remote desktop utility to handle such requests, which isn’t exactly ideal for a small, handheld device connected over a cellular network.

“I have wanted to write an iPhone application for some time, but I wanted it to be something truly useful — something that would actually make people more productive (as there are a lot of truly useless iPhone apps out there),” Bowers said via email. “I also wanted it to be something that didn’t exist already. These were my main criteria.”

So what does it do? It’s basically geared toward modifying Active Directory user accounts, as it can:

– find all recently locked accounts in a domain and unlock them
– reset user passwords
– force the users to change their passwords at next login
– disable or enable any user account

What it can’t do is connect to Active Directory groups or computers, so the only user attributes it provides control over are account lockout, account disabled, password, and password last set. For this reason, Bowers said the people likely to get the most use out of the AD HelpDesk app are not primary Active Directory administrators, but rather help desk folks dealing with Tier 1 requests who have account unlock and password reset rights.

While the full-version app is available for $4.99, it can be tested out for free by downloading the AD HelpDesk Lite edition. You can check out a short demo of the tool below.

For more information on Microsoft Active Directory, visit SearchWindowsServer.com.

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