Active Directory Recovery

Active directory screen shotMost people realize the importance of having a disaster recovery strategy to help bring their systems back online in the event of IT failure.  What most don’t realize, however, is the important role that Active Directory Recovery plays in this process.  Many organizations overlook AD backup as part of their recovery strategy, sometimes because of lack of education and sometimes due to budgetary restrictions.

What is Active Directory?

Windows Active Directory gives you a centralized location for all of your network administration activities.  It serves as a central repository for information about all of the “objects” in your network including files, computers, printers and more.  In most organizations, this tool is an essential component of the overall IT infrastructure, making it possible to quickly locate and manage distributed resources.

Why Backup your Active Directory?

There are a number of situations when backing up your active directory could be absolutely essential.  For example, if someone accidentally makes an unwanted change to an object in your directory, it could impact the performance of other components in your network.  The ability to roll back unwanted change is a commonly used and useful feature of AD backups.  AD backups can also protect your against various hardware and software failures that could corrupt your AD data.

Doesn’t my existing backup solution address this?

Depending on how you’re backup solution is set up, you may have a degree of protection for your AD already.  Most businesses backup their Active Directory to another remote location.  For the best coverage, however, you’ll want a secondary AD server onsite, that replicates any changes you make to your main server in real time.  This arrangement can be used to facilitate a rapid and complete recovery in the event of AD server failure.

What Should You Look for in an AD Backup?

There are a number of different AD recovery solutions out there.  The right one for you depends on your specific business needs.  As a general rule, however, you should look for the following attributes in any solution that you choose:

Flexible recovery options

Look for a solution that will support you through a number of different recovery scenarios. For example, there may be times when you only want to recover a single object in your directory, and there may be times when you need to recover your entire domain or forest.  Look for a solution that will cover you in a wide range of different scenarios.


You won’t be using your AD recovery tool often, so you’ll want to choose something easy to operate without much experience.  A good system will have an accessible, graphical interface that you can use intuitively.  It should also automate as much of the backup and recovery process for you as possible.

Vendor support

Even if your solution looks easy to use, it never hurts to have a team of reliable professionals on your side to help you through the recovery process.  Look for an organization with a good reputation for customer support.