What SMBs should know before installing Active Directory Domain(™) Services?

October 31, 2022
Industry Commentary

An Active Directory (Microsoft trademark) domain controller is used in many high-security environments, such as healthcare, financial services, accounting, etc. Most IT professionals know about Active Directory, but are also aware that it’s complex and generally difficult to set up correctly. (Unless you’re using Uplevel Systems built-in cloud-managed Active Directory compatible Domain Services … then it becomes easy!) Let’s take a look at what it really is.

What are Active Directory Domain Services? 

A directory in the IT world is a hierarchical structure that stores data about the network and its users and devices. A directory service like Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) goes further: not only does it store directory information and makes it available and accessible to users and administrators, but it also controls access rights to information, provides a simple way to distribute and enforce corporate IT policies, and maintains audit logs for forensics and security audits.

What does Active Directory Domain Services actually do?

Active Directory and Domain Services (AD DS) act as a centralized storage and management system for information about machines and resources on a network. It allows network administrators to manage user accounts and group memberships to enable/restrict access to enterprise resources. Active Directory Domain Services is a critical component of the Windows Professional operating system, for all businesses big or small.

AD has a hierarchical structure of logically organized items such as computers, users, and groups. This structure is based on a concept known as the directory information tree (DIT), which is organized into a set of containers. Each container includes a subset of the objects in the directory, and is identified by a distinguished name (DN).

The hierarchical structure lets you delegate authority, control access to resources, and create a logical structure that reflects the physical structure of your organization.

Advantages of Active Directory and Domain Services for SMBs

AD provides benefits that can be helpful for small and medium businesses (SMBs):

1. Quickly manage and organize policies pertaining to data and resources; for example, you can automatically mount a shared drive on a group of users’ workstations, or enable access to printers by subsets of users.

2. Provide security and Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities. Users can walk around from workstation to workstation as required by their job function; when they log into a workstation with their credentials, they will see their own desktop and data, and will not be able to see the data of other users.

3. Create and manage Group Policy Objects (GPOs), which control users' and computer settings in an organization.


Active Directory Domain Services are an essential component of many small businesses that have extensive security needs. While Active Directory involves many complex concepts - and is often difficult to set up correctly - it is extremely powerful; when used properly, it can elevate security substantially, and make it much easier to manage a customer’s IT system.

Uplevel makes implementation and management of Active Directory far simpler by integrating a full Active Directory Compatible Domain Controller into its gateways and enabling it to be set up and managed from the cloud with a few mouse clicks.

About Uplevel Systems

Uplevel Systems offers comprehensive, easy-to-use, and remotely managed IT infrastructure. We ensure flexible and adaptive solutions that may potentially fulfill every customer's needs and budget.