Active Directory Migration & Consolidation

Security-Centric AD Modernization

Streamline AD modernization with expert migration and consolidation solutions that put AD security first.

Why is AD modernization a security priority?

Delaying AD modernization can compound security risks

Why prioritize an AD modernization project? In a word, cyberattacks. When organizations look at the cybersecurity risk matrix, AD is right up there in red. The rise of AD-based attacks has changed business priorities. Projects that decrease AD’s risk profile and complexity, once rarely approved, are now recognized as necessary security projects. Security is the single most compelling reason to migrate to a pristine AD forest or perform an AD forest or domain consolidation.

  • AD-based attacks: AD is exploited in 9 out of 10 attacks, so modernization is urgently needed.
  • Technical debt: Attackers bank on AD vulnerabilities caused by years of configuration drift.
  • Unmanageable risk: Multi-forest environments multiply risk, as one breached forest can lead to a complete compromise through trust abuse.
  • Expanding attack surface: As misconfigurations proliferate, the attack surface grows. AD modernization is the surest way to dramatically reduce your attack surface.
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Our security-centric approach to AD migration and consolidation

A full-scale AD migration and consolidation initiative demands extensive effort and planning, which is why so many organizations delay the project. But with AD-based cyberattacks on the rise, AD modernization is too critical to kick down the road. Semperis is making your life easier by offering a comprehensive AD modernization solution backed by industry-leading identity security tools and expert support to ensure your migration and consolidation project stays on track while prioritizing AD security posture throughout the process.


Design desired state, assess current state, close gaps

Semperis helps you design and architect your future environment to meet modern security standards. You can plan the migration carefully to avoid common security pitfalls, mitigate potential problems, and fix existing AD vulnerabilities ahead of time. With this approach, your new environment won’t inherit technical debt accumulated over the years, which is a common challenge in M&A migration and consolidation projects.


Migrate and consolidate in a security-conscious way

Extensive changes during migration and consolidation projects often lead to unforeseeable consequences. With Semperis, you can mitigate these risks by easily spinning up an exact copy of your production AD to test the migration beforehand, monitor for new vulnerabilities, and quickly roll back any unintended changes. Plus, you can take automated malware-free backups of your environment as a precautionary measure.


Continuously monitor your modernized AD

While your project has a definitive timeline to complete, the effort to further secure your AD environment should be ongoing. The ground you take, you must fight to keep. That’s why Semperis monitors the destination AD to stop configuration drift before it starts and continuously assesses the new environment for indicators of exposure and compromise. We help you reduce the AD attack surface while defending against new threats.

Why modernize your AD?

Modernization reduces the AD attack surface

Active Directory modernization has become urgent due to the rise of high-profile cyberattacks targeting AD. The main reason for modernizing your AD is to reduce the attack surface, as years of configuration drift and poor security practices have introduced many security vulnerabilities, especially post-M&A. Another major security challenge is managing multi-forest environments, which many organizations have acquired over time, often through M&A. As with many systems, accumulating technical debt is not an uncommon occurrence. But the sensitivity of AD amplifies the associated security risk. For example, consider trusts set between various forests. If the least secure AD forest is breached, it can be used by attackers as a beachhead to more sensitive environments. Finally, a cleaned-up AD significantly improves operational efficiency and user experience.

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AD modernization challenges


AD modernization projects are very complex, requiring AD expertise, involving multiple business units, and can take many months to complete.

  • While migrating security principals (users, groups, and computers) is relatively straightforward, migrating resources, like file servers, databases, and applications, is more complicated and often causes projects to stall.
  • As a result, many organizations have migrated all of their users to the desired destination, but the resources still remain in the original forests, strung together by forest trusts.
  • Any security-focused consolidation project is only as secure as the insecure applications at the source.
Security regression

Constant vigilance is required to keep the AD forest secure. Not only do you need to make sure the destination forest is built securely before migrating, but appropriate tooling and governance must also be integrated to ensure the forest remains secure. The passage of time is a major security killer if configuration drift is left unchecked.

Wrong tools

The simplest migrations involve thousands of users and groups, and for medium to large organizations, we’re talking about tens to hundreds of thousands. So, automated tools are absolutely essential for AD migration and consolidation. Unfortunately, though, solutions available today are limited and most lack the security awareness to pull off an AD modernization project safely. Choosing a solution with built-in security capabilities is critical to avoid unnecessary security exposures during the process.

Opportunistic attackers

Attackers love to take advantage of a chaotic situation. During the consolidation following an M&A, for example, your organizations may connect to a less secure AD environment, putting you in a more exposed state. It’s crucial to be extra careful and alert during this time, as attackers can target the less secure environment to gain access to the environment being merged.

How Semperis helps securely consolidate and migrate AD

Use Semperis’ purpose-built AD modernization solutions and world-class AD migration and consolidation expertise to safely migrate and consolidate your AD environment to a secure environment.

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AD Modernization Challenge

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How Semperis Helps

Finding and fixing existing AD vulnerabilities before the migration
Before the migration, assess the security of your source AD environments and get guidance based on well-established security frameworks such as MITRE ATT&CK to remediate vulnerabilities before moving to the destination environment.
Identifying and remediating excessive privileges
Run Semperis’ Tier 0 attack path analysis on the source environments to find and potentially remove privileges from any risky accounts before the migration.
Applying appropriate policies to privileged accounts
Map out privileged accounts in your source environments so you can apply the correct security policies in the new environment when you migrate those accounts.
Avoiding post-migration problems with the production environment
Easily clone your source and destination AD environments to run various tests before pushing to production.
Detecting advanced Indicators of exposure (IOEs) or compromise (IOCs)
Semperis’ breach preparedness team is available on-demand to perform a more in-depth AD inspection to uncover hard-to-see security exposures and misinformed policies and provide guidance.
Tracking risky AD changes during the migration
During the migration, track changes in both your source and destination AD environments and quickly roll back unintended changes up to the attribute level.
Mitigating security risks that arise during the migration
Monitor for any vulnerabilities inadvertently introduced during the migration process and take action to resolve them before getting to the difficult-to-change production state.
Tracking risky Azure AD changes throughout the modernization process
In hybrid AD environments, monitor your Azure AD security configuration as you build it out.
Guarding against backup failures
Take automated AD backups to give you a safety net against any catastrophic impacts to your source or destination AD forests, which are always at risk of occurring due to the extensive changes.
Avoiding security regression after migration
After the migration and consolidation project ends, continuously monitor your destination AD to flag any new vulnerabilities that inevitably will come up, so you can eliminate them immediately.
Ensuring fast, malware-free AD forest recovery in the case of a post-migration cyber disaster
Always be prepared to recover from a cyber disaster, even after modernizing your AD, with Semperis’ automated AD forest recovery solution, which includes malware-free backup and post-breach forensic capabilities.

Frequently asked questions about AD migration and consolidation

How does AD migration and consolidation improve security?

Migrating and consolidating a large, legacy AD environment collapses as many forests as possible into a single forest. Not only does this consolidation make a positive impact on the security posture of the organization, but it also often reduces total management costs by eliminating the more complex, distributed multiforest environment.

What are the security risks of a multiforest Active Directory environment?

Multiforest environments create multiple management and security challenges for IT and identity management teams. For example, consider trusts that are set between various forests. If the least secure forest is breached, it can be used as a beachhead to more sensitive environments.

What are the potential security pitfalls of an AD consolidation and migration project?

Without a security-first approach to AD migration and consolidation, your AD will be at risk from a security perspective. Legacy AD environments often have dozens of unaddressed security vulnerabilities that have accumulated over time. If those gaps aren’t addressed before the migration, the new environment will inherit those security risks and technical debt. The migration process could create new, unknown vulnerabilities that will be hard to detect without continuous monitoring and change tracking during the project. After migration, the new environment might experience security regression, so continuously monitoring AD for new security vulnerabilities is essential.

In the migration process, should domains be collapsed as well as forests?

The AD forest consolidation process should include collapsing domains into organizational units (OUs) if independent management is required or into groups if there is no need for independent units. This setup enables the organization to reduce the number of domains that need to be managed.

What’s the best practice for enforcing security policies after AD environments are consolidated?

Once the environments are consolidated, the organization can use one location to enforce its security policies via Microsoft Group Policy objects (GPOs), Intune, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), or other means. You can also consolidate the management of permissions and all other aspects of a properly secured identity environment.

Why AD modernization is important

What to consider when planning a security-first AD modernization project to migrate and consolidate AD.

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