Active Directory and SharePoint

Active Directory & SharePoint are co-operated technologies.  In this article we will see an overview of Active Directory & integration with SharePoint.

What is Active Directory?

Active Directory (AD) is a Directory Service from Microsoft. In simple terms Directory Service is a directory containing users, computers & properties. Active Directory performs Authentication & Authorization.


The features of Active Directory are:

  1. Indexed
  2. Fast
  3. Replicated
  4. Hierarchical
  5. Extensible

Active Directory is installed as a Role in Windows Server operating systems.


Inside Active Directory

We can explore the Users & Groups by expanding the domain > user's tree as shown below:


We can also add / edit / delete users & groups using this interface.

Groups inside Active Directory

We can create user groups inside Active Directory. There are 2 types of groups:

  1. Security Group
  2. Distribution Group

Security Groups are used to assign security rights to a set of users. Example: Backup Group, Department Groups like Technology, Finance etc.

Distribution Groups are email distribution groups. Example: Country Distribution group containing all members from a particular country,


You can right-click on the Users item to create a group.


Group Scope

Group Scopes determine the visibility of the group. There are 3 group scopes:

  1. Domain local
  2. Global
  3. Universal

Domain local groups can be assigned permissions only in the Domain. Global groups can be assigned permissions in all the domains. Universal groups can be assigned permissions in any domain forest.


Active Directory & SharePoint

The following are the points to be noted for working with SharePoint & Active Directory:

  • Users can be authenticated against Active Directory
  • The User Profile Service Application is the SharePoint part for working with Active Directory
  • We can synchronize user profiles & schedule synchronization



In this article we have explored Active Directory features & usage with SharePoint. In the next article I will describe Active Directory User creation & Assigning to SharePoint Groups.