What is Domain Controller? Everything You Need to Know

What is Domain Controller? Everything You Need to Know
What is Domain Controller? Everything You Need to Know

Implementing the network security best practises is of the utmost importance to enable secure remote device access, extend security compliance, centralise user data, and strengthen your security posture.

In this remote working environment, establishing a secure connection between your remote employee’s devices and the corporate domain is important to combat data centre security risks and make security management and compliance hassle-free.

This is where the domain controller and domain joining come in.

This article will show what a domain controller server is, its types, and its benefits for your enterprise network. Let’s begin!

What is a Domain Controller?

A Domain Controller (DC) is a server that responds to the security authentication requests within a certain domain from network endpoints and verifies users on the computer network.

While domains provide a hierarchy for organising computers and users connected to your network—a Domain Controller keeps that data secured and organised.

The DC acts as a gatekeeper and holds the keys to your kingdom—Active Directory (AD), allowing access to the domain resources. Hence, it runs the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) for request authentication within a domain.

Besides, it also enforces security policies, authenticates users for a domain, and stores the user’s account information in a secured way.

How Does A Domain Controller Work?

Ideally, enterprises have several Domain Controllers—each having a copy of the Active Directory (AD).

All the user login credentials from the network are held and consolidated in Active Directory Domain Controller service. Hence, DC uses the Active Directory to house the user database and login information.

So, when users log in to their domain, DC checks and validates their credentials, like usernames and passwords—to either permit or deny access for that user. Thus, a remote Domain Controller helps manage and maintain your network security and user identity security—enforcing security policies across Active Directory domains.

Hence, here’s a breakdown of the roles and responsibilities of a Domain Controller (DC):

  • User authentication and validation to access your network.
  • Regulating access and permissions—overseeing a user’s access rights within the domain.
  • Implementing network-wide rules and group security policies for passwords or granting access.

Let’s learn more about the benefits and limitations of a Domain Controller for your enterprise.

Do You Need A Domain Controller: Advantages And Drawbacks

Irrespective of your organisation or business size—you need a Domain Controller to improve your network’s security if you save your customer’s data and login credentials on your enterprise network.

Here are the benefits of a Domain Controller (DC) for your organisation network:

  • Centralises user data management for efficient organisation and data storage.
  • Makes resource sharing for files and printers a breeze.
  • Simplifies network administrative workload.
  • Facilitates and provides more control over users’ settings and entitlements.
  • Maximises and ensures high network and data security.
  • Enables user data encryption.
  • Enables Federation configuration for redundancy (FSMO).
  • Increases collaborative possibilities within the domain.
  • Easier to distribute and replicate across large networks.
  • Easier to harden and lockdown for improved security.

Here are the limitations or cons of a Domain Controller (DC):

  • Comes with the potential to be hacked and become an easy target for cyberattacks.
  • You must ensure users and the Operating System’s (OS) stability and security.
  • It’s important to check for hardware and software requirements and keep them up-to-date.
  • Your network depends on the Domain Controller’s uptime.

What Are The Types Of Domain Controllers?

There are two major types of a Domain Controller—read-only and read-write.

  • Read-only: The read-only Domain Controller (DC) comprises a copy of the AD DS database, which is read-only.
  • Read-write: A read-write Domain Controller comes with the ability to read and write to the AD DS database.

With that in mind, let’s also understand what domain joining is and how it differs from Domain Controllers.

Domain Controller vs Domain Joining

Many confuse these two terms—assuming domain joining and Domain Controller to be the same.

Domain Joining is a feature that allows your employees to securely connect to your work domain from a remote location using their enterprise login credentials. Hence, it enables them to join a domain of your enterprise effectively.

On the other hand, as we discussed, a Domain Controller is what determines whether users are eligible to join the Active Directory domain—validating their credentials from the Active Directory.

Get Started With Domain Joining With InstaSafe

Domain Joining and Controllers come with their own perks and vulnerabilities. While they strengthen your network and ensure maximum user data security and protection—choosing the right service and implementing domain controllers is paramount.

If you need a service to connect your remote employee devices to your corporate domain securely, check out our InstaSafe solutions. Get domain joining to ensure compliance with updated security protocols, push group security policies to remote devices, and enable maximum control over security patches and updates. Book a demo today to learn more!