Small Companies — when do you need Microsoft Active Directory?

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I get the question "I have x number of computers and x number employees.  Do I need Active Directory?"  The question is usually from small companies that have grown organically from 1 person to the size that they are today.

 

How do I answer that question?  With more questions of course!  I need to get some more information about the environment before I can answer.Active Directory

 

In general, I advise people that are in the 10-25 user range to think about using Active Directory, and will generally recommend Active Directory for groups larger than 25, but each customer is unique and may vary from this general recommendation.

 

So, what questions do I tend to ask when determining if Active Directory would be a good thing in the environment?

 

  1. What OS do you use on each workstation?  Non-Microsoft or Home versions of Windows in use will change when and if I recommend Active Directory.
  2. Do users share computers or do they each have their own?  Sharing of computers increases security complexity.  I will recommend Active Directory earlier.
  3. How regulated is the customer?  Customers with high regulatory standards usually benefit from having Active Directory installed.  Active Directory allows for better security and auditing to help meet the regulatory requirements.
  4. What are the IT goals of the business in the near term, mid term and long term.  Sometimes Active Directory makes meeting the business goals easier.
  5. How is email currently hosted and what email system is used?  In house or in the Cloud?  MS Exchange or Linux based email.  Onsite Exchange requires Active Directory.

 

If you need help with answering these questions or want to know more about how to implement Microsoft Active Directory, please contact us at sales@dwdsinc.com

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