Active Directory Bridging (AD Bridging) is a mechanism that allows users to log on to non-Windows systems using Active Directory (AD) login credentials.

Active Directory is a Windows directory service that lets IT administrators easily manage the users, applications, data, and other aspects of their IT network. AD is used to authenticate users and authorize access, allow for the management and storage of information, and allow IT staff to deploy various services. Active Directory is a key enabler of identity management.

AD Bridging simplifies user access management by letting a user authenticate themselves using AD. AD Bridging then uses a technology, Kerberos, an authentication protocol that uses tickets, to validate that user with other applications and systems.

The Challenges of Identity and Access Management Across Multiple Platforms

AD Bridging enables the centralization of verified and secure authentication details from multiple systems (Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.) in AD. This practice boosts overall security, while delivering a more seamless user experience in comparison to the disjointed practice of managing separate logins and passwords across multiple systems, for several reasons:

AD Bridging makes identity consolidation and access management much easier.

The Benefits of Active Directory Bridging

AD Bridging confers numerous benefits for system administrators, IT security teams, and end users, including:

How Active Directory Bridging Works

Once your IT team has set up AD Bridging (typically using a specialized AD Bridging application), it generally works as follows:

  1. A user logs on to their standard Windows session as normal, typically at the start of their shift. This initial logon can have robust authentication procedures

  2. Any time that user tries to access a linked application (in Windows or another environment), the AD Bridge queries the centralized AD for user credentials

  3. Providing those credentials are found, and the user is authorized, the AD Bridge informs the target application to allow access

  4. The user can then access the target application

Steps 2 and 3 above are completely invisible to the end user. This process can vastly reduce the need to remember lots of different passwords, thereby increasing productivity and security.

What to Look for in an Active Directory Bridging Solution

It’s vital to have proper security and administration in any AD Bridging process. There are several software applications your business can use to make AD Bridging secure and easy to use, both for administrators and end users. Good AD Bridging software should: