AD-CS stands for Active Directory Certificate Services. It is a role in the Windows Server operating system that provides a comprehensive infrastructure for issuing, managing, and revoking digital certificates. These digital certificates play a crucial role in securing communications within an organization, ensuring the identity of users and devices, and facilitating secure data exchange over networks.
Here's a breakdown of the key components and concepts related to Active Directory Certificate Services:
1. Certificate Authority (CA)
- A Certificate Authority is the core component of AD-CS. It is responsible for issuing, renewing, and revoking digital certificates.
- There are two types of CAs: Enterprise CAs and Standalone CAs.
- Enterprise CAs are integrated with Active Directory and can automate many certificate management tasks, making them suitable for organizations with AD infrastructure.
- Standalone CAs are not integrated with Active Directory and are typically used for specific, non-AD scenarios.
2. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
- AD-CS operates within the framework of a PKI, which is a set of policies, processes, and technologies used to manage digital certificates and public-private key pairs.
- PKI provides the foundation for secure communications, encryption, and digital signatures.
3. Certificate Templates
- Certificate Templates define the properties of certificates issued by the CA. These templates can be customized to meet specific security and business requirements.
- Common certificate templates include User, Computer, Web Server, and more.
4. Registration Authority (RA)
- The Registration Authority is an optional component that acts as an intermediary between certificate applicants (users or devices) and the CA.
- The RA can perform identity verification and certificate request validation before forwarding the request to the CA for issuance.
5. Certificate Revocation List (CRL)
- The CRL is a list of revoked certificates issued by the CA. Clients use the CRL to check the validity of certificates.
- Periodically, the CA publishes updated CRLs, which clients download and use for validation.
6. Online Responder
- The Online Responder is an optional component that provides real-time certificate status information. It can improve the efficiency of certificate validation.
7. Key Recovery
- Key Recovery is a feature that allows administrators to recover private keys associated with certificates in case of loss or compromise. This is crucial for data recovery and compliance.
- Autoenrollment is a feature that automates the process of requesting and renewing certificates for users and devices based on predefined policies and templates.
9. Security and Auditing
- AD-CS provides a range of security features, including role-based access control, auditing, and monitoring to ensure the integrity and security of the certificate infrastructure.
- In multi-forest or multi-organization scenarios, AD-CS can be used for cross-certification to establish trust between different CAs and PKIs.
Server Manager information
- You can use AD CS to enhance security by binding the identity of a person, device, or service to a corresponding private key. AD CS gives you a cost-effective, efficient, and secure way to manage the distribution and use of certificates.
- Applications supported by AD CS include Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), secure wireless networks, virtual private network (VPN), Internet Protocol security (IPsec), Encrypting File System (EFS), smart card logon, Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS), and digital signatures.
The installation of AD CS role services can be performed through the Server Manager. The following role services can be installed: