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Active Directory Likely More Vulnerable Than Many Believe, Survey Finds

A majority of companies falsely believe their Active Directory (AD) is secure, according to a new survey conducted jointly by Skyport Systems, a leading secure hyper-converged provider for the hybrid enterprise, and Redmond Magazine, the authoritative, independent voice of the Microsoft IT community.

The response from more than 300 IT professionals located in North America revealed that AD security is in fact underperforming at those companies participating in the survey, leaving organizations open to attack from outside hackers and insider threats.

The survey sheds new light on how organizations are protecting their privileged credentials stored in AD against a backdrop of escalating daily attacks.

The survey revealed that most organizations are at least somewhat confident in their AD security:

  • More than 50 percent of respondents rated their AD as either “secure” or “very secure.”
  • More than one third of the remaining 50 percent rated their AD as “moderately secure.”
  • Only 2.5 percent of respondents rated their AD as “not secure.”

“Smart configuration and governance of your AD admin accounts, policies, and passwords is a great first step, but still not enough,” said Art Gilliland, CEO of Skyport Systems. “AD is the keys to the kingdom and should be protected at all costs. We know that IT teams are being asked to do more with less, which is why it’s important to explore hyperconverged security models that reduce workload and increase visibility to ensure a completely turnkey, secure environment for the applications that matter most.”

Data points indicate vulnerabilities could exist:

  • 70% had neglected to implement multi-factor authentication.
  • 41% allowed unspecified workstations to access domain controllers.
  • 22% used admin credentials to read email or browse the web.

Although AD is the main target of attacks and is usually highly vulnerable, more than half of respondents either said that AD security is not a priority for the coming year or that they’re unsure if it is.

Adversaries and penetration testing teams frequently target AD administrator credentials and workstations in order to breach an organization, because a successful compromise is difficult to detect, and it unlocks every piece of the IT infrastructure — users, data, applications, computers, storage, and the network. According to Skyport’s AD security assessment for enterprises in 2016, AD mismanagement unknowingly exposes 90 percent of enterprises to security breaches.

While it’s possible that some of the respondents were intentionally overstating their confidence in their company’s AD security, it could be the case that most organizations are simply unaware of how vulnerable their AD really is. In fact, some red team pentesters claim nearly a 100% success rate when they are hired to breach an organization’s AD infrastructure.

For those companies interested in better understanding their own AD vulnerabilities, Skyport offers a free security assessment tool to identify and understand vulnerabilities within Active Directory, and assist in creating a plan to mitigate risk.

About Skyport Systems

Skyport Systems helps innovative companies gain the control and confidence to securely run their critical applications. The company offers the award-winning SkySecure, the industry’s first hyperconverged system that simplifies the deployment, management and security of today’s complex data center. With security built-in from the ground up, SkySecure offers assurance protection of an on-premises solution with the flexibility and agility of a fully managed cloud-based infrastructure. By combining compute, virtualization, networking and storage onto a single platform, IT departments can streamline and automate their daily operations and maintenance that saves time and resources, without sacrificing security or performance. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. Skyport is funded by Cisco Ventures, Index Ventures, Intel Capital, Google Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures. For more information, visit www.skyportsystems.com

Skyport and SkySecure are registered trademark of Skyport Systems, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

About Redmond Magazine

Redmond magazine, published by 1105 Redmond Media Group, a division of 1105 Media, Inc., is the authoritative, independent voice of the Microsoft IT community, and provides real-world technical, product, news, and industry information for experienced IT professionals working within a Windows platform computing environment. Redmond magazine’s editorial mission is to provide readers with the facts, strategies, and behind-the-scenes insight into Microsoft and the Windows computing platform so they can make better informed decisions regarding their organizations' IT infrastructure.

Find out more at https://redmondmag.com

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