Management of native security
Active Roles Access Templates can be used to specify permissions in Active Directory. Designed to support the role-based grouping of permissions, Access Templates provide an efficient mechanism for setting and maintaining access control, simplifying and enhancing the management of permissions in Active Directory.
To provide this capability, Active Roles gives the administrator the option to keep Active Directory native security updated with selected permissions specified using Access Templates. This option, referred to as Permissions Propagation, is intended to provision users and applications with native permissions to Active Directory. The normal operation of Active Roles does not rely on this option.
For Active Roles permission entries with the Permissions Propagation option set, Active Roles generates Active Directory native permission entries in accordance with the Active Roles permissions. Once set, the option ensures that every time Active Roles permission assignments or templates change, the associated native permission entries change accordingly.
Customization using ADSI Provider and script policies
Active Roles offers the facility to customize its off-the-shelf functionality using scripts and applications that interact with the Administration Service. It allows a high degree of customer modification to meet specific business and organizational needs. This gives customers greater flexibility when using the product, and enables them to build solutions that can easily be integrated with existing systems and data.
The following list shows some of the ways in which the product can be customized:
- Using the Active Roles ADSI Provider, the existing proprietary applications or custom Web-based interfaces could communicate with Active Roles to perform administration and provisioning tasks on user accounts and groups.
- Using policy scripts, custom corporate rules could be enforced to regulate data format and administrative workflows.
- Using policy scripts, the data stored in an HR database or ERP system could be incorporated into the administration and provision of users.
Active Roles makes it possible for user-developed scripts and applications to manipulate directory objects through the Administration Service (persistent objects), and to take control of objects that are in the process of being created, modified, or deleted with Active Roles (in-process objects).
Having programmatic access to persistent and in-process objects makes it easy for developers to customize Active Roles in these two areas:
- Creating custom applications and user interfaces
- Enforcing corporate administrative policies by running custom scripts (script policies)
Custom applications and user interfaces
A custom application or user interface can be created to manipulate directory objects in Active Roles. Active Roles offers the ADSI Provider to communicate with the Administration Service using standard COM interfaces that conform to the Microsoft ADSI 2.5 specification.
Custom applications are executables that provide data to the Administration Service or retrieve and process data from the Administration Service. For example, an organization with a separate Human Resources database could develop and deploy a custom application that extracts personal information from the database, and then passes it to the Administration Service in order to facilitate user account provisioning.
Custom user interfaces are usually Web-based interfaces that distribute certain tasks to users. Custom user interfaces can also be used to streamline the workflow of network administrators and help-desk operators. For example, Web-based pages could be created so that help-desk operators only see the fields related to user properties that they can view and modify, according to the corporate standards.
Both custom applications and user interfaces rely on the Active Roles ADSI Provider to access the functionality of Active Roles.
Custom script policies
Active Roles provides the ability to implement administrative policies by running user-developed scripts. This makes it possible to:
- Facilitate the provisioning of user accounts Populate user properties through external database integration and automate multi-step provisioning tasks.
- Maintain the integrity of directory content Prevent inconsistency of Active Directory data by enforcing update-sequence and data-format policies across the enterprise.
- Enforce business rules Maintain security design and capture administration expertise by integrating business rules into the administrative workflow.
Once configured, the custom script-based policies are enforced without user interaction. Active Roles automatically handles the execution of policy scripts that supplement particular administrative operations and trigger additional administrative actions. For example, policy scripts can be used to:
- Perform a sophisticated validity check on input data
- Synchronously change information in multiple data sources, such as the Active Directory store, Microsoft Exchange server, and HR or ERP-system database
- Ensure that delegated administrators follow a prescribed administrative workflow
- Link multiple administrative tasks into one operator transaction