Saturday, April 13, 2024

Forest outages risk axing enterprise AD systems


A ‘forest’ — in case you didn’t know — is the top-level logical container in an Active Directory configuration that holds domains, users, computers, and group policies.

This level presents a security challenge and a new survey of 1,000 IT professionals from Cayosoft reveals a 172 percent increase in forest-wide Active Directory outages since 2021.

This is due to a number of factors including escalating cyber attacks, the growing complexity of hybrid environments, and human error. Yet despite the striking rise in AD outages, few businesses can respond and recover quickly. Only six percent of enterprises and 16 percent of businesses overall can recover their Active Directory in less than an hour. Almost half of respondents report that it can take days, weeks, or even months to rebuild.

“Regardless of how an Active Directory forest outage comes about, it’s critical to reduce the time it’s down. Many organizations falsely trust their AD recovery strategies will work in these pivotal moments, and few meet testing burdens, and even fewer fully comprehend the time and resulting cost for a recovery,” says Robert Bobel, founder and CEO of Cayosoft. “Active Directory remains the cornerstone of almost every organization and outages are escalating — this means a fast, complete recovery is top priority so employees, enabled apps, suppliers, and customers can operate.”

The report finds that daily testing could significantly reduce AD outages, 73 percent of respondents reported testing less than once per month, with almost a quarter (23 percent) testing just once per year. 90 percent of enterprises, 70 percent of medium-sized companies, and 65 percent of small businesses must rebuild or have clean servers on standby in order to recover. These processes, which are required by most standard AD backup and recovery solutions, significantly lengthen time to recovery.

When asked about the labor cost of downtime, 70 percent of respondents across all company sizes say they risk losing at least $100k per day (just over $200 per minute) of downtime. However, a calculation of labor cost, based on an average salary of $75k per employee and 250 8-hour workdays per year, demonstrates a significant disconnect between the perceived cost of AD downtime and reality. The range can vastly differ based on size of the organization as well. An enterprise with 15,000+ employees risks losing $4.5 million in labor costs per day ($9,375 per minute) of AD downtime. A mid-size company with 5,000+ employees risks losing $1.5 million per day ($3,125 per minute).

You can get the full report on the Cayosoft site and there’s an infographic summary of the findings below.

Image Credit: Kirill Livshitskiy / Shutterstock

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