A Domain Controller is a server on a Microsoft Windows or Windows NT network that responds to authentication requests and verifies user access. Or it is a guard that is responsible for allowing host access to Window domain resources.
Imagine a domain controller (DC) as a locker that holds key to the wonderland- Active Directories (AD). It enforces security policy for a Windows domain, authenticates users and stores user account information. This domain controller protects elevated access on the network and also can be used to detect cyberattacks in progress.
What is the main function of a domain controller?
Domains are a hierarchical way of arranging users and computers that work together on the same network. The domain controller keeps all of that information data organized and secured.
The primary duty of the DC is to deal with authentication and approve user access on the network. When a user logs into their domain, the domain controller checks password, username, and other credentials to either allow or deny access to that user.
Benefits of Domain Controller
- Centralized user management
- Require login passwords for locked screens
- Enables resource sharing for files and printers
- Give Access Only to Those that Need It
- Federated configuration for redundancy (FSMO)
- Can be distributed and replicated across large networks
- Encryption of user data
- Disable user accounts immediately when a user or employee leaves the company
Why is the domain controller important?
It provides authentication service for a network of Windows machines. Many cyber attackers look for striking elevated access to your network and use various kinds of tricks.
Domain controllers ensure that only genuine and authorized users are allowed to access the network. It helps to keep the hacker threat out of reach. The user has to pass through different criteria of DC, then once the user is validated domain controller determines whether the user is lawful or illegal.
Differences between Domain Controller and Active Directory
If you want to know about Domain Controller and Active Directory then read the below information.
Active Directory (AD) is a Microsoft product that consists of several services. This service runs on a Windows server to manage authority and entry to the network resources.
The functions of AD include Lightweight Directory Services, Certificate Services, Federation Services, and Right Management Services (for information rights management, which controls access to particular data).
To make you understand the difference between these two let me give you an example.
Active Directory is like a vehicle and Domain Controller is like its engine. AD is a type of domain, and DC is an important server in that domain. It’s just the same as the vehicle needs an engine to operate. One thing to notice not every domain is an Active Directory but every domain has a Domain Controller.
Do we need a domain controller?
Yes! There is no doubt about that.
If your business whether it’s small or large, holds customer data on network needs then it is important. It improves the security of your network and prevents from cyberattacks.
Especially for those businesses that use only cloud-based CRM and payment solutions, for instance, they should use Domain Controller. It helps to secure cloud services and protects customer data.