Five Reasons to Add a Content Management System to Active Directory

Active Directory and CMSMany of my clients are familiar with and use Microsoft Windows active directory tools. However, for those who may be wondering what active directory is, I’ll give a quick overview. Then, I’ll provide five reasons why you should incorporate a content management system with active directory for a higher level of document security.

What Is Active Directory?

Essentially, active directory is a directory service that functions as a central clearinghouse for all authentication and authorization transactions by user, computer, printer and/or group. A system administrator can use it to control access to folders, documents, software installation, updates and more based on various security identifiers.

How a CMS and Active Directory Work TogetherThis management tool, when it first came out with Windows NT (remember that?), was cutting edge, and it still is. However, it does have some drawbacks:

  • You can only allow or disallow access to documents.
  • It’s hard to track or audit who is accessing documents and what they are doing with them.
  • People that have “read only” access can still open that document and email/print/save it another version, or convert it to a PDF, before modifying it.
  • Individuals with full control can easily (albeit accidentally or purposely) destroy or delete the document.

Why Use a CMS with Active Directory?

One of the best ways to overcome the active directory drawbacks and improve your document security is by adding a content management system, or CMS, into the process. When the two work in tandem, you get:

  • Much finer granularity in permissions. The CMS offers more than a dozen permissions, as opposed to just read/write within the Windows environment.Content Management System plus Active Directory
  • A detailed audit log for tracking exactly what users are doing to documents (i.e., printing, emailing, modifying, etc.).
  • A system that ties easily into your current active directory environment for easy administration. It allows for “single sign-on” ability, meaning there’s no need for maintenance of users within the system. Individuals just log into a PC and the system knows who they are and what they are permitted to do.
  • The ability to allow/disallow a variety of actions (such as modify, email, print, view, delete and more) down to the individual user level.
  • The option to create a new version of a modified document, so that you never lose your original, no matter what permissions the end user has.

The combination of CMS and active directory are ideal if you do a lot of document scanning and management with your copiers and printers. If your business is located in Canton, Akron, Toledo or elsewhere in Ohio, contact me. I’d be happy to discuss in more detail how these two systems can work together to make your documents safer.