“With AD comes great power and great danger," NetPro's Brent Harman said a few months ago, as he guided me through several NetPro products designed to help IT pros more effectively manage and use Active Directory (AD). His conclusion was thought provoking: “Regulatory compliance will soon be taken to its logical extension—we’ll have to know everything.” <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I was reminded of his statements recently when I attended NetPro’s Directory Experts Conference (DEC) 2007. There, I saw some equally thought-provoking and informative presentations on AD, Group Policy, and Longhorn Server by such experts as Sean Deuby, Jan DeClercq, Gil Kirkpatrick, Darren Mar-Elia, and Guido Grillenmeier (all of whom also write for Windows IT Pro). In between sessions, I got the chance to speak with Christine McDermott and Neil Karnik of NetPro about three of NetPro's infrastructure management solutions: Restore ADmin, ChangeAuditor, and SecurityManager. New features in these products add another level of security by letting administrators see more than they were able to before, which, in turn, affects an organization's ability to better meet compliance requirements.
RestoreADmin 3.0 was just released in April and provides quick online restores of deleted objects, offering a way to search for the latest backup, instead of requiring an administrator to scroll through long lists. Administrators can also see who deleted an object and when. SecurityManager checks policies on the server, comparing actual policy settings to expected policy settings, and automatically resets settings to the expected state. It offers compliance monitoring and monitoring of external trusts and group memberships, and a dual-key mechanism prevents accidental deletions by administrators. ChangeAuditor 4.0, to be released in June, has a redesigned database back end to make it more responsive, as well as expanded auditing of DNS, local groups, and file systems and built-in compliance reports. Administrators can capture Group Policy changes to see what policy settings changed as well as who changed them.
It'll be interesting to see what else NetPro will have in store for IT pros in the coming year, as well as what DEC presenters and attendees will have to say in 2008, given that Longhorn Server will have arrived. Stay tuned.