9 BEST Active Directory Management Tools (AD Tool) in 2023

Microsoft Windows Active Directory gives an administrator a centralized and secure view of the infrastructure within the company. It gives an overview of the folder structure, the number of users, and the authentications and permissions in effect. Group policies can be used, and they affect user access across the domain.

With the limitations in the native Active Directory in Windows, one needs Active Directory tools to effectively manage AD. But not all Active Directory tools help address the vulnerabilities inherent in Active Directory. Inactive user accounts (stale data) and unwanted inheritance of permission are just a couple of them. How do you pick the most complete and trustworthy Active Directory software that helps address these issues? We have done the research so you do not have to. In this guide, we will be looking at nine of the best Active Directory tools and we will help you pick the best one and the best for your needs.

Best Active Directory (AD) Tools

Name Supported Platform Compliance Free Trial Link
👍 ManageEngine ADManager Plus Windows, Cloud SOX, HIPAA, USA Patriot Free for 100 domain objects Learn More
Access Rights Manager Windows, Cloud GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS 30 days Learn More
Adaxes Windows, Cloud SOX, HIPAA, PCI DSS 30 days Learn More
LDAP Administrator Windows, Oracle Internet Directory, Novell e- directory etc. SOX, PCI DSS 30 days Learn More
Lepide Auditor Windows, Cloud SOX, PCI DSS, GDPR, FISMA etc. 14 days Learn More

1) ManageEngine ADManager Plus

Best Integrations

AdManager Plus is an integrated management and reporting tool for Active Directory, for Azure, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft 365. It offers user activity tracking and has a robust drag-and-drop interface. Detailed information on user logon over a specified time, including time and date is generated. Bulk user management is made possible through the use of CSV.

User lists can be exported in a number of formats. It also supports multi-approval workflows and time-based access management.

It supports several LDAP attributes for easy communication with Microsoft 365 etc. The audit log gives an idea of who made what modifications to the Active Directory system and also a log of failed jobs.

#1 Top Pick
ADManager Plus
5.0

Manage users, computers, groups & contacts in a few clicks

Support Platforms: Windows and Cloud platforms

Free Trial: Free for up to 100 domain objects

Visit ADManager Plus

Features:

  • It integrates with ServiceDesk, Zendesk, ServiceNow, Zoho People, and Oracle.
  • Threat detection is available through an additional module referred to as Log360, which integrates with AdManager Plus.
  • 2FA or 2-Factor Authentication can be set up in AdManager Plus.
  • Supports compliance standards such as PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, GLBA, and SOX.
  • Real-time updates are available for all Active Directory management tasks via both SMS and e-mail.
  • Toll-Free support numbers are available in the US.
  • Supported Platforms: Windows and Cloud platforms.
  • Free Trial: Free for up to 100 domain objects

Pros

  • A very simple, fast, and convenient interface
  • Offers detailed reports.
  • Ability to customize views and understand the status of each user

Cons

  • Continuous pop-ups when accessing different functions can be annoying
  • It is web-based and is reliant on Java, which makes it sensitive to runtime issues.

Price: The annual subscription for the standard edition with a single domain (unrestricted domain objects) starts at $595. The annual subscription for the professional edition starts at $795.

A trial edition is available and is free for up to 100 domain objects.

Visit AdManager Plus


2) Access Rights Manager

Best Overall

Access Rights manager is a great tool for network administrators. It is a self-service portal that allows users and data owners to access information by themselves. It allows you to view logins that were made previously and an environment summary can be viewed in the dashboard. The knowledge base is vast and sufficient for troubleshooting without further assistance.

Templates can be used for bulk user management. It enables you to import a CSV file of users and export a list of users in a number of formats. You can also export a Data Owner configuration to other systems when migrating.

It also restricts user activity if required. Multi-factor authentication is also present. Automatic de-provisioning is done to mitigate threats if a user fails two-factor authentication.

Access Rights Manager

Features:

  • Access Rights Manager empowers auditors to conduct compliance-driven auditing.
  • Windows and cloud platforms are supported.
  • Integrations are limited to a few applications, such as SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • Support for LDAP sync.
  • Compliance standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS are fully supported.
  • The data loss prevention software within Access Rights Manager helps verify group policy compliance.
  • Alerts are sent when accounts are misused or misconfigured.
  • International and US toll-free numbers provide technical support for all customers.

Pros

  • Automated AD reports via email
  • Easy tracking of changes made in Active Directory

Cons

  • Alert types and settings are not sufficient, and there are bugs
  • Automation and templates require knowledge of JSON

Price: The annual subscription for the complete package starts at $2003, and the perpetual licensing costs about $3900. The Access Rights Manager Audit version costs $1,200, and the full version costs $3,444 for lifetime.

A fully functional trial with no limitations is offered for 30 days.

Visit Solarwinds >>


3) Adaxes

Best user-friendly interface

Adaxes is an enterprise-grade Active Directory management software that helps with automating user provisioning and creating an approval-based workflow. It provides an elegant Active Directory Web Interface, which is very intuitive and has several functionalities. It tracks user login attempts and other activities.

Users can reset passwords on their own. It allows the management and automation of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Exchange. Custom commands are also supported in Adaxes.

All traffic between Adaxes and Active Directory (AD) happens through LDAP, which could be encrypted or unencrypted. Users can enable multi-factor authentication with an authenticator app.

Adaxes prevents brute force attacks by adding a delay after the user tries several times. It also details user permissions that put your network at risk. Drag-and-drop functionality allows you to copy and paste AD objects.

Adaxes

Features:

  • Both Windows and Cloud (Azure Active Directory) are supported.
  • It gives regular updates on unused user accounts, OUs, etc.
  • It also allows importing reports from other sources, such as third-party HR tools.
  • It is one of the best active direct management tool that monitors the Active Directory configuration continuously.
  • You may alter the names and change group permissions as you copy and paste.
  • Users can be managed in bulk from a CSV file.
  • SOX, HIPAA, and PCI DSS are some of the standards that are fully supported.
  • A template can be used for user creation or even to obtain object attributes that can then be used in reports.
  • It is also possible to automate the enrollment of users.

Pros

  • It gives you a strategic approach to role-based access control with many templates
  • It unifies multiple networks, making it great for enterprise networks

Cons

  • The interface could do with better data visualization
  • Priority case handling and a dedicated account manager are available in premium annual maintenance plans only.

Price: It depends on the number of enabled user accounts. It starts at $1600 for up to 100 user accounts to $10,800 for up to 2000 user accounts. The annual maintenance cost is separate.

A fully functional 30-day free trial is offered by Adaxes.

Link: https://www.adaxes.com/


4) Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner

Best AD Software to Examine Lookouts

Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner is a simple and single-purpose utility which comes very handy to administrators investigating an account lockout or unlock. It allows monitors account lockouts in real time and enables proactive solutions for account lockouts. The Windows security log is the only source, and the account lock checker can only display information contained within it.

Netwrix

Features:

  • The Investigate feature helps examine the cause of account lockout.
  • Since users or groups, or OUs are not created or managed, templates are not present.
  • It helps administrators effectively troubleshoot issues with account login or use.
  • The Summary tab has a list of all cases of account lockout.

Pros

  • It is free and backed by great support from the community.
  • Indicates specific device or app that is causing the lockout, making it easy to troubleshoot.

Cons

  • Lack of email or SMS alerts means you must track every case of lockout or unlock
  • It is not compliant with any major standards such as PCI DSS or HIPAA.

Price: The tool is licensed as freeware, and one needs to submit only a business email to obtain it.

Link: https://www.netwrix.com/account_lockout_examiner.html


5) LDAP Administrator

Best for multiple LDAP Directories

LDAP Administrator is a tool that supports setting user permissions across several LDAP servers, such as Novell Directory Services, Active Directory, and Netscape. The directory elements can be relocated using the inbuilt drag-and-drop functionality.

The application generates fully customizable reports, which can greatly benefit the administrator. The Server Monitor displays server-specific information. Reporting is also possible based on this information. A logon summary can be obtained through the Request Log tool.

LDAP

Features:

  • LDAP Administrator supports several LDAP platforms, including OpenLDAP, Oracle Internet Directory, Novell eDirectory, and Microsoft Active Directory.
  • You can set profiles to be read only. Users will not be able to make edits.
  • Robust reporting features that allows you to create custom reports or use the ready-made report templates.
  • Templates consist of a collection of attributes, each being a required or optional one. Objects can be created based on these templates.
  • Powerful LDIF editor that supports intelligent formatting and quick navigation.

Pros

  • A Swiss Army knife that supports most of the platforms which support LDAP
  • An unlimited site license is available with absolutely no user cap

Cons

  • Not clear about compliance with major standards
  • Annual maintenance and support can only be availed for the latest version

Price: The single license (which allows installation of a single copy) costs $250. The operating maintenance license allows installation of multiple application copies. It supports a fixed number of domains only and starts at $1599. The unlimited site license starts at $4799.

The free trial is fully functional for 30 days.

Link: https://www.ldapadministrator.com/features.htm


6) Recovery Manager for Active Directory

Best for Disaster Recovery

Recovery Manager for Active Directory from Quest enables the administrator to restore all AD objects. This includes users, properties, organizational units, subnets, and Group Policy Objects (GPOs). Recovery Manager not only helps you backup Active Directory faster, but it also significantly reduces downtime. This allows you to reactivate problematic user accounts without restarting domain controllers.

Administrative templates can be maintained for recovery operations that contain a list of objects that need to be restored.

Recovery Manager

Features:

  • Recovery Manager also provides a single dashboard to view hybrid and cloud-only.
  • It can restore on-premises and Azure AD accounts with the same level of accuracy.
  • The reports are both detailed and easy to understand for any user.
  • One can import specific objects from a list in the Online Restore Wizard. It is possible to back-up a specific Recovery Manager configuration too.
  • Integration is possible with On Demand Recovery
  • Alerts can be set for backups which exceed a particular time. This allows the administrator to terminate them and run another backup.
  • A technical support request or a ticket can be submitted online.

Pros

  • It takes a matter of minutes to recover your Active Directory
  • Initial setup takes time, but it is fully automated beyond a point.

Cons

  • Deep knowledge of Active Directory required to configure and set it up
  • No easy way to backup PowerShell scripts.

Price: The pricing is available on request for all three editions of Recovery Manager for Active Directory. They are the base edition, the Forest Edition, and the Disaster Recovery Edition.

A fully functional free trial is available.

Link: https://www.quest.com/products/recovery-manager-for-active-directory/


7) Lepide Auditor for Active Directory

Best for Security Event Management

Lepide Auditor for Active Directory lets you easily see the access levels of all users. You can also get a bird’s eye view of the structure of the Active Directory. Drag-and-drop functionality enables moving users between groups. Lepide Auditor allows you to import users from a CSV, custom views, and mailbox settings. It allows the export of Active Directory users to CSV, PDF, or MHT file formats as well.

Built-in behavior analytics follows the normal behavior of each user and alerts them when there is an anomaly. For every change in the Active directory, a single log shows who made the changes and when. For added security, multi-factor and LDAP-based authentication is supported in Lepide Auditor.

Lepide

Features:

  • It integrates with several SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions such as Splunk, LogRhythm, IBM QRadar, HP ArcSight, and more.
  • Over 100 pre-built AD audit report templates help administrators meet their compliance needs.
  • Reports can be generated for every audit that is performed in a selected date range. Reports are generated on stale data too, which can be a system security risk.
  • Lepide Auditor is fully compliant with standards such as SOX, PCI DSS, GDPR, FISMA, etc.
  • Email and SMS alerts are triggered on any changes to the system, configuration, and data.
  • 24×5 customer support is available to all customers. Professional support services can be purchased.

Pros

  • GUI is great, and it is easy to use
  • Custom reports are easy to generate

Cons

  • It crashes at times which can be annoying
  • Sometimes it is not able to collect the data and there is no reason cited

Price: The price for the full version is about $499. But it is better to request a quote as the price is not provided on the official website.

They offer a fully functional trial for 14 days.

Link: https://www.lepide.com/lepideauditor/active-directory-auditing.html


8) ENow Software

Best for Alerts

ENow Active Directory Monitoring and Reporting tool helps you manage and secure your Microsoft Active Directory. This Active Directory report tool probes for faults and failures across domain controllers and user accounts. This helps prevent login issues and replications of directories. It can detect failures in group policies and help better manage them. Through real-time and historical activity monitoring, it can decide if the active directory needs to be optimized to meet demand levels.

This software stands apart from other Active directory report tools by simplifying reporting. It provides 30 pre-built templates to generate audit reports. LDAP sync is supported, but ENow also uses a proprietary sync called GALsync.

ENow

Features:

  • Reports can be generated for tracking user activity, and logs can be examined.
  • It reduces the work needed to comply with several standards, such as HIPAA and SOX.
  • Threat detection and alerts are available on the dashboard.
  • With GALsync (a separate purchase from Enow) you can integrate several Active Directory forests!.
  • Alerts can be easily displayed on the dashboard identifying the state as successful or critical for every change to the Active Directory.
  • There is a number for support, but it is not toll-free.

Pros

  • Tenant specific reporting on Microsoft 365
  • Technical support is great

Cons

  • No updates on bugs in the software to customers
  • Not very helpful information on alerts or why it was triggered

Price: The price is available on request following a demo. However, a fully functional 14-day trial can be obtained from the official website.

Link: https://www.enowsoftware.com/products/active-directory-monitoring-and-reporting


9) Permissions Analyzer

Best Free Active Directory tool

SolarWinds Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory is a single-purpose tool process that is very intuitive, and it is fast at getting permission on every file and folder on the server. The results of a search are presented in a simple GUI.

Permissions Analyzer

Features:

  • It is easy to install and audit.
  • Quickly analyze permissions by group or individual user.
  • Solarwinds has community support and there is an online forum where you can post your queries.
  • It is very easy to understand for administrators of every skill level.
  • It is one of the best Free Active Directory management tool for analyzing user permissions

Pros

  • It helps the administrator get an overview of the permissions assigned to and inherited by users.
  • Intuitive to use to unravel permission problems

Cons

  • Too simple, focused on a single application and does not support cloud
  • Cannot create organizational units or make modifications to the structure of the Active Directory

Price: It is licensed freeware and can be downloaded from the website.

Visit Solarwinds >>

FAQs

The most common tool used to Manage Windows Active Directory is built into the operating system. The other common tools that are popular are AdManager Plus and Access Rights Manager. There are tools for specific tasks also, such as Netwrix Lockout Examiner, for examining lockouts or unlocks.

There are several challenges in Active Directory administration. Some of them are:

  • Tracking and monitoring when the system is left unattended.
  • Reducing the time, it takes to complete tasks both on the system and in the cloud.
  • Assigning the right permissions to users and using group policy effectively
  • Recovering the system after a domain name is erased (disaster recovery)

Some of the things that an Active Directory administrator must do are:

  • Ensure user creation and modification follow a template.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication, if possible, as it is more secure.
  • Reduce the reliance on native AD tools as it takes a lot of time and could be error-prone.
  • Ensure that all changes to the directory structure and permissions are tracked and monitored closely.
  • Try to integrate Active Directory with Azure AD, so the workforce can operate from anywhere.

Conclusion:

Modern Active Directory management tools could make the whole process much less cumbersome. Our pick of the AD management tools is Access Rights Manager from SolarWinds. We found the user interface quite intuitive and the pricing reasonable for everything it does.