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Differences Between LDAP and Active Directories

There are many different systems that keep information organized within your computer or server. However, they have separate purposes and perform their own tasks. Knowing what these are and the jobs they do will help you understand how to use them. Here are a few differences between Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP, and an Active Directory.

The Definition of LDAP

This system is the way a directory talks to another directory. It checks to see the validity of the services that it is working with. It is used to originate usernames, passwords, and the accounts that your employees use. Many companies can manufacture and support this product. This directory functions on an IP network. This platform is the best option to keep both your staff and your customer’s information safe while it is in your care.

The Definition of Active Directories

When your systems work to authenticate a user or verify a network’s user management, it is working with an active directory. This network organization was designed by Microsoft for network administrators to oversee who uses their systems and the domains that they work with. It can be utilized with an online database to determine which groups it needs to manage and what information to provide. It is designed into three levels named domains, trees, and forests. Finding one that is simple to facilitate is vital for a well running system. Many companies choose to work with Microsoft AD for it’s easy use. 

Working Together

LDAP can work with the help of an active directory or it is able to operate independently from it. It can also partner with other directories to carry out the processes that it is commanded to do. An active directory contains information that your employees need yet they require a protocol to function such as a LDAP to start. An active directory is a portion of the lightweight directory access protocol. The LDAP sends orders to the directory and the directory fulfills them.

Simple Authentication

There are several ways that you can use LDAP to authenticate into a system. Some of these are simple while others are Simple-Authentication and Security Layer, or SASL. One simple option is Anonymous Authentication, which lets you into a system while keeping your identity secret. There is also Unauthenticated Authentication, which will prevent someone from getting into your network and is meant for logging data instead. Name/Password Authentication allows you into the computer using a specific username and password given to you to log in.

Simple-Authentication and Security Layer

SASL partners with another external form of authentication to allow a user to get into the system. It asks several qualifying questions before the security login can happen. The answers to these questions are set up when a staff member starts their account. If the answers are incorrect, the person is locked out of their information until technical support can intervene. Virtual banking accounts frequently use this system, Be sure to add encryption to keep those from the outside from breaking into your system. This added layer of security will make it simple for your user to get in but confuse an external system trying to push through.

How LDAP Queries Work


When you are searching for something specific in a directory, you can utilize LDAP to find it quicker. This service would be best suited if you needed to weed out users who are inactive and passwords that have been dormant. Once it does it’s search for you, you can eliminate the expired data freeing up more space in your system. If this is an option you want to try, research how to write the command then enter it into your computer. You can also use an external program to assist you in this. Being knowledgeable about the processes that happen within a network can help you understand what they are capable of. Being aware of the differences between LDAP and active directories will help you complete your tasks quickly and efficiently while protecting your systems. These two programs let you control who can be in your databases and who must stay out. Using these tools controls makes this task far simpler than performing it manually, leaving you time for other jobs you must do.

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