Active Roles provides safe, distributed administration through advanced delegation of rights with very high granularity to individual users or groups. This relieves highly skilled administrators from routine day-to-day tasks, saving time and increasing productivity. For example, an administrator can allow the Help Desk to perform specific tasks, such as resetting passwords or managing group memberships, without granting full administrative privileges.
As you develop your administration and security design, you define delegated administrators (Trustees) and administrative roles (Access Templates). Then, you define Managed Units and apply Access Templates, designating Trustees for each Managed Unit. You can also apply Access Templates to objects and folders in Active Directory, assigning the permissions to the necessary Trustees. This three-way relationship between Trustees, Access Templates, and managed objects is central to the implementation of your role-based administration model.
The Active Directory Users and Computers tool provides the facility to delegate administrative responsibilities. However, every time you want to delegate rights, you need to define a set of permissions. This makes the delegation procedure time-consuming and prone to errors. Active Roles overcomes this problem by consolidating permissions into customizable administrative roles—Access Templates. The logical grouping of permissions simplifies the management of delegation settings.
Access Templates are collections of permissions representing administrative roles. Permissions are used to allow or deny certain administrative operations to a user or group. You can create an Access Template that incorporates all permissions required to perform a particular administrative role.
To assign the role to a user or group, you should link the Access Template to a Managed Unit, Organizational Unit, domain, or individual object, depending on the scope of the role, and then select a user or group to designate as a Trustee. As a result, the individual user, or each member of the group, acquires the rights specified by the role to administer objects that reside in the collection or folder to which the Access Template has been linked.
Active Roles implements delegated administration by linking Access Templates to collections of objects (Managed Units), directory folders (containers), or individual (leaf) objects.
When applied to a directory object, an Access Template specifies permission settings for that object and its child objects. Applying Access Templates to Managed Units is a convenient way to manage permissions on collections of directory objects.
Each Access Template is applied in relation to some users and/or groups (Trustees), and the permissions specified in the Access Template determine their access to managed objects. When an Access Template is modified or no longer applied, permissions set for the directory objects are modified accordingly.
When permissions on a Managed Unit change, Active Roles recalculates the permission settings on all the Managed Unit members. Likewise, the permission information is modified whenever the list of objects in a Managed Unit changes. When objects join or leave a Managed Unit (due to object property changes, for example), all permission settings on those objects are recalculated.
Every object inherits its permission settings from the Managed Units in which it resides. For example, if a Trustee has permissions to access multiple Managed Units that hold a given object, the Trustee’s permissions to access that object are simply defined as a union of all permissions specified at the Managed Unit level.
Applying Access Templates to a container object (directory folder) establishes the Trustee’s access to both the container and its child objects. The Trustee, having permissions specified over a container, possesses inherited permissions for the child objects residing in the container.
Permissions defined in an Access Template can be propagated to Active Directory, with all changes made to them in Active Roles being automatically synchronized to Active Directory.
By enabling synchronization from Active Roles security to Active Directory native security, Active Roles provides the facility to specify Active Directory security settings with Access Templates. Access Templates simplify and enhance the management of permissions in Active Directory, enable the logical grouping of permissions, and providing an efficient mechanism for setting and maintaining access control.
For each permission entry defined in Active Roles and configured with the Permissions Propagation option set, Active Roles generates native Active Directory permission entries based on the Active Roles permission entry.
The Permissions Propagation option (also referred to as Sync to Native Security or Sync to AD in the user interface) ensures that every time Active Roles permissions change, the associated native permission entries change accordingly.
Disabling the Permissions Propagation option on existing Active Roles permissions, or deleting Active Roles permissions with this option set, deletes all native permission entries specified through those Active Roles permissions.
If a propagated permission entry is deleted or modified in Active Directory, whether intentionally or by mistake, Active Roles restores that entry based on Access Template information, thus ensuring the correct permission settings in Active Directory. The “Sync of Permissions to Active Directory” scheduled task is used in Active Roles to create or update permission entries in Active Directory based on the Access Template links that have the Permissions Propagation option enabled.
This section guides you through the Active Roles console to manage Access Templates. The following topics are covered: