Remote work has become the new normal in the times of the novel coronavirus. A lot of large enterprises have had to be nimble when dealing with sudden lockdowns across various locations. Companies have empowered their staff with remote work policies to keep their businesses running. A lot of enterprises are seriously considering remote work policies for an extended period. However, that has brought its own unique challenges to the employees and the organizations that employ them.
One of the unique challenges that companies face in such a scenario is data protection and security. This is exacerbated in situations when the companies have had to let go of remote employees. The organization needs to take proactive steps to protect their data when they cut ties with their remote employees.
Another challenge that IT administrators face is whether their existing authentication and identity management system can securely manage remote access to the company’s IT infrastructure. Businesses that run Microsoft Active Directory (AD) often find out to their dismay that AD struggles with managing a remote work model. Let us look at the reasons why.
1) AD was meant for an IT environment predominantly powered by Microsoft
AD was launched as part of the Windows 2000 Server and was meant to simplify the access between Microsoft business applications, Windows servers, and desktops. AD allowed IT administrators to manage permissions between various Microsoft operating systems. Today, the IT environment has become extremely diverse.
Now organizations need to have the capability to interact with diverse technologies and devices. With companies turning to cloud solutions such as Slack, Salesforce, and Zoom, IT admins are finding that this scenario causes issues when it comes to access management with AD. The issue is exacerbated in a remote work scenario, where multiple employees may be using non-Microsoft devices to do their work.
2) AD is not meant for remote file sharing
Microsoft’s DFS (Distributed File System) in AD allows access to shared resources in a client-server environment. It was not originally envisaged to work seamlessly in a remote work environment. Microsoft’s DFS (Distributed File System) allows access to shared resources in a client-server environment, in an on-premise scenario. So, AD struggles in providing authentication and identity management services to remote employees.
You can overcome this challenge by taking steps to enable file sharing through Microsoft DFS using a third-party solution. By doing so, employees get access to file sharing on the cloud using non-windows devices such as iPhones or Android devices. IT admins do not have to set up a VPN on remote Windows machines since files and folders can be accessed in a mapped drive.
3) It isn’t easy to manage access to resources in the cloud using AD
AD, meant for deployment primarily in an on-premise scenario, struggles to manage and control users’ access to web apps, productivity software, and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) platforms such as AWS. IT administrators resort to using a different identity management solution to manage and control access to resources in the cloud to get around this issue.
The direct result of maintaining various identity management solutions is IT administrators have to deal with complicated scenarios. After all, each solution needs to be manually implemented and maintained, which is challenging to manage, especially in a remote work situation. There is also a risk of security breaches and a greater propensity for malicious attacks by hackers.
4) Difficulty in securing machines in a remote environment with AD
As part of internal policies or company compliance guidelines, IT administrators often need to secure the computers that employees work on. If the company infrastructure is on AD, securing systems is a challenge when it comes to non-Windows machines. In fact, it can even be challenging for Windows-based remote systems that connect to AD through a VPN.
AD works exceptionally for an on-premise environment, which is predominantly powered by Microsoft software. However, many IT admins struggle and need to find workarounds when it comes to a remote work scenario. In this article, we’ve highlighted a few reasons why AD struggles to keep up with remote work. You can use this information to take steps to get around these issues.