Top 10 Best Active Directory Auditing Tools / Software

Top 10 Best Active Directory Auditing Tools / Software. Active Directory domains are the most attacked networks because of their wide usage and the number of vulnerabilities that are made available due to user mistakes. This especially concerns their password and accounts usage.

This means, that Active Directory domains need to be monitored closely and the best way to achieve that is with the help of Active Directory auditing tools.

IT teams depend on Active Directory (AD) to keep networks secure and to maintain user accounts. Choosing the audit tools can be very costly, especially if there is strict budget limitations. Here it is why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 best Active Directory management tools.

In this post, we will be looking at the top 10 best Active Directory auditing tools and software solutions to manage your on-premise or cloud domain controller.

What is Active Directory?

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is Microsoft’s multi-tenant cloud-based directory and identity management service.

Benefits of AD

  • Extend Active Directory to the cloud.
  • Automate AD tasks and group management
  • Centralize your resources and security administration.
  • Simplified Resource Location.

What to look for in Active Directory monitoring tools?

When looking at AD auditing tools it is important to look at the criteria such as: 


A) Can you analyze the permissions structure?

B) Can you automate user account and group creation?

C) Is there a feature that helps to tighten security?

D) Can you get information about user who did not log in for certain number of days or left the company?

E) Is there an audit trail that logs all changes to AD entries?
F) Is there a value for money? package ?

And so, without further ado…

Top 10 Best Active Directory Auditing Tools / Software

1. InfraSOS

InfraSOS is the leading active directory reporting tool on the market. The tool also includes reports for Office 365 among 200+ other comprehensive AD reports that can be exported in various formats.

This AD reporting solution gives you detailed reports on Active Directory, Office 365, Azure AD on all your Active Directory Objects and attributes. It is the only SaaS reporting platform for Active Directory Auditing.

Among the other reports are those that show details about AD users that are active or inactive, blocked, locked out or have their accounts disabled. Information that can be reported includes the last time they had logged on or changed their passwords.

Administrators can also access information about the current status of user accounts, their security permissions, password expiry dates (or when they had changed their passwords), failed login attempts, and much more.

They also have AD Health Check reports that report on the status of the domain controller (DC) itself and any Domain Nameservers (DNS) with the ability to set alerts on AD DC replication statuses.

In unique settings, they can create custom filters to search for AD attributes – including missing attributes – based on user attribute entries.

Choose InfraSOS  to make sure your AD is fully secure and compliant.

InfraSOS Pros

  • Azure AD and Office 365 Healthcheck and reporting.
  • DNS monitoring.
  • Real time and in depth reporting and auditing on full AD – from AD DC down to objects like user policies, groups and profiles.
  • Encrypted communication at all times ensures security.
  • Office 365 Reporting Tool (find Unlicensed Users and Office 365 shared mailbox reports).
  • It is a central place for administrators to control almost everything that involves user access and network permission.
  • Deploy Active Directory Computer Reports,  OU and Active Directory Replication Status Reports.
  • With InfraSOS use customized and compliant Reports.
  • Identify Vulnerable AD accounts (locked out user reports, password never expires report and password expired reports).
  • Filter your Active Directory Attributes (Filter and customize any report based on your AD attributes).
  • Use seamless access to the users after setting up the AD infrastructure.

InfraSOS Cons

  • Only available in English.

2. Netwrix Account Auditor

Netwrix Auditor comes to us with Account Lockout Examiner – a free tool that offers full visibility into what is happening with the AD and Group Policy (GP). Netwrix Auditor enables auditing for Active Directory, file serversSQL Server, VMware and Windows Server

This tool is popular for being one of the best AD tools for quick resolution of account lockout issues with AD.

Administrators can spot the root causes of lockouts with just a few clicks. It is a lightweight tool that doesn’t eat up resources as users go about investing issues like why one account keeps getting locked out. There is no need to dig through event logs as all the information is searchable by just entering a username.

This is a client server application that runs as a service that allows it to report issues in real time. It also has audit trail features that allow for monitoring the full stack of IT systems.

Netwrix Prox

  • Easy deployment and usage.
  • Password change notification for users.
  • Good auditing capabilities.
  • High scalability, in-depth forensic reporting, and real-time insight into risks.

Netwrix Cons

  • The GUI needs updating – it is basic, crowded, and confusing to inexperienced users.
  • The alerting could do with some upgrading.
  • Challenging to learn filter options.
  • Errors a need more detailed description for easier troubleshooting.

3. ManageEngine ADManager Plus

ManageEngine ADManager Plus is next on the list of top 10 Best Active Directory Auditing Tools / Software. It is an easy to use AD management and reporting solution. It has a central web-based user interface (UI) that handles tasks like bulk management of user accounts, delegates role based access to stakeholders for decentralized task management, and displays it all in an array of reports.

The tool is mobile friendly, thanks to its web interface, allowing it to be accessed from anywhere in the world.

It is a tool that can monitor critical metrics like CPU usage, memory allocation, and thread counts for easier decision making on how to scale applications’ capacity. Users can then drill down into reports on root causes to view granular information and display them in dashboards and graphs for a better understanding of performance statistics.

ManageEngine ADManager Pros

  • Easy to use, efficient delegation, and all around monitoring that is supported by comprehensive reporting with all relevant information made available.
  • It has great filtering and drilling in capabilities for in depth analysis.
  • Create and manage bulk user accounts and manage Active Directory Passwords and also create and delegate security roles.

ManageEngine ADManager Cons

  • Although the reporting is comprehensive, it can be bulky and hence slow to present the reports.
  • The application, although web-based, can be slow when loading.
  • The most complaints about this product are regarding its poor technical support.

4. ManageEngine AD360

ManageEngine AD360 is another product from the same company that is an integrated identity and access management (IAM) solution for managing user identities, governing access to resources, enforcing security and ensuring compliance.

Among the tasks that it can perform we find user provisioning, self service password management, AD change monitoring and single sign-on (SSO) for enterprise applications all manageable from a single easy-to-use interface.

This tool allows for the management of not only AD but also assets like Exchange Servers and Office 365 – regardless if the architecture is on premise, cloud or hybrid.

Users also have independence when it comes to resetting their passwords while administrators can leverage self service features for common tasks like updating user attributes in AD.

AD360 also helps monitor changes to AD objects in real time and comply with regulations with the help of its out-of-the-box reports.

ManageEngine AD360 Pros

  • Renowned for its performance, award winning product and works efficiently on any network.
  • It is a reliable solution, a testimony to the brand.
  • It is very flexible and can be customized easily to meet any unique requirements.

ManageEngine AD360 Cons

  • It has a high learning curve when it comes to mastering the solution with many components to keep an eye on.
  • The UI could do with a revamp as it can get complicated when performing tasks like creating self service reports, for example.
  • A little challenging when trying to integrate the solution with other third party solutions.

5.Specops Command

Specops has a collection of AD tools for password auditing and scanning as well as identifying password related vulnerabilities. It collects the information and generates various interactive reports showing user and password policy information.

The tool scans the network to identify risky account status like orphaned or unused accounts as well as other security risks. Administrators can then use the results to determine what cleanup operations need to be implemented.

It can also be used to enforce security compliance requests, block compromised passwords and help users create secure passwords. Its Password Policy feature extends the functionality of AD Group Policy (GP) and simplifies the management of password policies.

Administrators can drill down into the policies to look at their settings to make sure they are compliant with industry standards and protect against attacks. It uses its extensible dictionary of common and compromised passwords to stop users from creating susceptible passwords.

Specops Pros

  • Complete password analysis helps with exhaustive monitoring and auditing of user password security levels – reduces the chances of breaches.
  • It has numerous policy options to ensure secure passwords and enforce policies.
  • Mobile users don’t have to be on the premises to reset their passwords.

Specops Cons

  • Focused mainly on passwords and not many in depth performance features to cover other aspects – requires installation of supporting solutions.
  • The reporting features are limited with enhanced details and information lacking.
  • Tasks like updating the breach passwords list are challenging and manual.

6. Quest Recovery Manager for Active Directory

Quest Recovery Manager for Active Directory is an AD object recovery tool. It audits the objects and can restore them without the need to restart the Domain Controller.

Administrators can also back up the AD at the object and attribute levels as well as pinpoint any changes made to the environment as a whole. The information provided lets them know what had happened, who was responsible, and what needs to be rolled back to fix an error. It can compare backups to show where a change occurred and help pinpoint recovery points. Once the recovery points have been decided it can restore only objects or attributes that have changed to cut down on recovery times.

Quest Recovery Manager Pros

  • Best for backup and restore jobs, ensures audited data integrity is maintained at all times.

Quest Recovery Manager Cons

  • It can become slow as the amount of data it needs to work with grows.
  • The UI could do with more grouping of tasks instead of using individual panes to avoid going back and forth.
  • The speed of mounting restore points is slow.

7.SolarWinds Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory

SolarWinds Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory is a free tool for instant visibility into AD user and group permissions.

The tool has an interface to analyze assigned and inherited permissions of files and folders in the AD. This allows administrators to easily identify how permissions are inherited by users and groups.

This free AD permissions analyzer from SolarWinds is easy to install, intuitive to operate, and clearly shows why users have their particular permissions.

It analyzes assigned and inherited permissions for files and folders in a Windows domain. Once installed, it shows what access has been granted to users or makes it easy to spot why they aren’t able to access resources.

SolarWinds Pros

  • One of the best UI and UX in the AD auditing solutions market makes it a pleasure to work with – can work with other SolarWinds products for full stack monitoring.
  • An overall professional looking UI and great UX.
  • It’s free, easy to install solution that has familiar controls for Windows users and has a low learning curve.

SolarWinds Cons

  • Some advanced features can take time to master – a high learning curve.

8. Quest Active Administrator

Quest Active Administrator is another tool from Quest. In this case, we have a complete and integrated AD management solution that offers a view of the management of the domain.

It enhances compliance with audit and security requirements by pinpointing gaps that have been left by third party security solutions.

Administrators can understand and streamline security threats and delegate controls to other stakeholders using customizable and reusable templates.

They can also perform authorization checks to prevent over-privileged users from accessing sensitive data by assessing, standardizing, and implementing security policies and permissions.

Quest Active Administrator Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to install and use.
  • Detailed insights into the overall health of AD configuration for network auditing.
  • Aesthetic and insightful reporting.

Quest Active Administrator Cons

  • A bit on the expensive side making it a poor choice for smaller businesses.
  • Not many are integrations available.

9. Adaxes

Adaxes is an enterprise grade management and automation solution for enhanced administration experience of AD, Exchange, and Microsoft 365 environments. It consolidates all the Microsoft platforms for easier auditing and management using a single web based interface.

Administrators can delegate AD management capabilities to their colleagues without granting them domain administrator rights. They can also automate tasks, rules based group building, reporting and much more – with approval steps thrown in the mix.

Adaxes Pros

  • A tool for everything – monitoring, auditing and administration – makes it a one stop choice for AD network administrators.
  • It is web based and caters to mobile devices.
  • Many automated tasks make it a tool for freeing users’ time.

Adaxes Cons

  • No cons with the software per se, but most complaints received about it are around the slow support – or rather lack of it – when users face issues.
  • A little challenging to master with high learning curve.

10. Lepide Data Security Platform

Lepide Data Security Platform is a tool to audit, report, and alert on changes made to critical systems and data to help administrators streamline systems management, improve security, and meet compliance demands.

Organizations can report on user interactions with data on cloud and on premise,  such as Active Directory, Azure, File Server and Office 365

They can audit changes in AD objects or files in real time. Alternatively, they can run custom scripts to automatically react to security threats.

In cases where damage has already been done, the platform can speed up and simplify the process of restoring the system from the regular backups of AD objects and Group Policy. This includes restoring deleted objects from a tombstoned state.

Lepide Data Security Pros

  • Easy installation and in-depth auditing make it a good solution.
  • Deployment via Cloud, SaaS and Web Based.
  • It is an efficient auditing software with user-friendly UI.
  • Numerous auditing reports ensure complete accountability and compliance.

Lepide Data Security Cons

  • No cons but more features would have made it an even greater solution.

That’s it! We have gone through Top 10 Best Active Directory Auditing Tools / Software. Thank you for your time. 

Top 10 Best Active Directory Auditing Tools / Software Conclusion

The AD is one of the most critical components of a domain. It is also the first target when it comes to security.

With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to find the right mix of AD management tools for your needs. The most effective way to make that choice is to install different tools and try them out in your AD environment. This will give you insight into how well they will work for your specific needs and preferences.

Any auditing or management tools that are put in your domain need to be configured correctly for effectiveness as well as ensuring there no gaps are left for further exploitation.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you setup Active Directory domain auditing solutions to secure your users, data, and network.

Avatar for Liku Zelleke
Liku Zelleke

Liku Zelleke is a technology blogger who has over two decades experience in the IT industry. He hasn’t looked back since the day, years ago, when he discovered he could combine that experience with his other passion: writing. Today, he writes on topics related to network configuration, optimization, and security for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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