LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Its main purpose is to enable individuals or organizations as well as other resources to locate data and find relevant information about a particular file or device. Essentially, the word “lightweight” in LDAP refers to a small amount of coding in Directory Access Protocol.
In this article, we will discuss LDAP in detail, including how it works and its benefits for businesses.
What Is LDAP?
The concept of LDAP was first introduced in 1993 by Tim Howes, Wengyik Yong, and Steve Kille. The main purpose of introducing this protocol was to replace the Directory Access Protocol (DAP) system and device with something more appropriate for small coding purposes. The team of inventors coined the term “lightweight” and because it was more accessible, they called it Accessible Protocol.
Now, LDAP has become extremely popular and serves as a standard for directory services as well as the foundation on which Microsoft built Active Directory. LDAP is a protocol that offers user management services. The main benefit of using LDAP as a protocol is that it communicates with directory services, especially those that are cloud-based and where LDAP is required.
What Is LDAP on a Functional Level?
The main internal function of LDAP is to connect the LDAP server with the LDAP user. In other words, whenever the LDAP user needs to access a particular set of information related to the organizational data or passwords and other credentials related to the applications, LDAP comes into play. The role of the LDAP server is to process the query by using the internal language, thus communicating directly with the directory services. After processing all the information, it provides the results in the form of a response.
The response that is produced by the LDAP server is directly received by the client who can understand how to process the data accordingly.
Why Do We Need LDAP?
LDAP has many benefits and uses, but its most important function is to serve as the main tool and central hub for authentication.
What Is LDAP Authentication?
Basically, LDAP helps organizations store sensitive user information and enables people in the same organization to access passwords within their network. However, it is important to incorporate various plugins with LDAP to verify credentials and make it possible for the LDAP directory, systems, and applications to secure the organization’s and users’ data.
LDAP usage and authentication are not limited to the protection of usernames and passwords. LDAP is a vast protocol that is also used for the protection of other organizational data. LDAP has the potential to manage and protect all attributes that can benefit businesses in the long run and ensure the protection and privacy of their employees.
If we look at an example of how and what kind of organizational attributes LDAP can protect other than the protection of usernames and passwords, we come to know that LDAP serves as a helpful tool for the management and protection of user identities across an organization. This includes the addresses of people working in the same organization, telephone numbers, and other organizational data including files, printers, and shared resources.
What Is LDAP Security?
LDAP plays a vital role in reducing the communication gap between users and Active Directory services. Moreover, while studying its role in the authentication of information, we have also covered how LDAP deals with sensitive information and ensures its protection.
In simple words, the importance of LDAP can never be denied when it comes to the protection of organizations from cyber criminals and hackers.
LDAP is basically the authentication process which focuses on providing the maximum level of security by maintaining a layer of access management and moving the information from Active Directory to the clients. In this way, it enables clients to understand your digital infrastructure while retaining security within the organization.
Why Is LDAP Important?
In this era of modernism and technological advancement, you can face numerous threats while dealing with the online world because hackers manage to target your data and systems. It is due to this reason that there's a dire need to create awareness about cybersecurity to prevent people and businesses from data breaches and theft.
According to risk-based security research, 36 billion records were exposed as a result of severe data breaches in 2020.
Opening random attachments and clicking on various links is dangerous, especially when you do not know the sender. The Google report has shown that phishing emails and malware related to COVID-19 can cause serious security issues, and Google is already removing 18 million of them each day.
LDAP Protects Your Passwords
By updating passwords regularly and keeping them strong, long, and unique, you can ensure the security of your personal information. It is highly suggested to use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
Here are a few tips that can help you manage your passwords outside of your helpdesk.
- Do not allow websites to remember your passwords.
- Make use of password management tools such as RoboForm.
- Never use the same password for every account.
LDAP Verifies the Identity of the Requester Who Asks for Private Information
LDAP provides a base level of security by eliminating a built-in layer of access management and enhancing encryption so that the company and organization can remain safe from both internal and external threats.
LDAP Deletes Sensitive Information When It Is No Longer Needed
64% of companies face cyber attacks because they do not care about the deletion of sensitive data after it is no longer needed. If you are an individual and want to secure your information, it is better to completely delete your data before it is misused. This is accomplished by using SSL/TLS encryption and adding an extra layer of protection to the information that is shared via LDAP.
It is particularly important for small businesses that face 43% of cyber attacks. Keeping sensitive information in your system creates a meaningless vulnerability.
LDAP Backs Up Critical Files
According to Brand Essence Research, the global cybersecurity market will reach $400 billion by 2027. However, you can save a lot on security by backing up significant files regularly. LDAP helps backup critical files when you install other security extensions along with using this protocol.
More About LDAP Uses and Its Benefits for Businesses
According to Search Mobile Computing:
The most common use of LDAP is the storage of credentials, such as usernames and passwords. However, it also has a wide range of applications and other services that validate the users. One of the examples is the validation of users' information using Docker, Jenkins and Kubernetes. LDAP also makes use of different system administrators as well as servers to maintain a secure environment within the organization.
The role of LDAP can also be seen in other applications and binding of different operations that help LDAP in deleting various entries or search and compare them using different commands. Moreover, it also helps in modification of existing entries, extension of entries, and unbinding operations.
What Products Are Helpful for LDAP?
LDAP benefits businesses by keeping information organized and secure. Organizations may lose their data without proper storage and can suffer distractions that will ultimately impact their customers and the quality of services. It is also very important to make storage arrangements and organize files and data so that customers will be able to process and act on the right information.
While using LDAP, organizations must consider the fact that the organization and security of information is not enough; companies should also pay special attention to the backing of all important data. Fortunately, nowadays the LDAP protocol pairs well with other IT tools to secure and backup organization’s data.
The organizations that suffer from cybersecurity and other hacking issues without having any duplicate servers may face complete bankruptcy. Whenever an organization adopts the use of LDAP and proceeds with continuity plans, the organization should also make arrangements to guard against crippling natural disasters and other attacks that might affect the smooth operation of the businesses.
In the end, it is critical to understand that LDAP is an essential tool for any business because of its strong and deep interactions with the directory services, especially those related to Microsoft's Active Directory. All IT businesses need to take advantage of LDAP to provide coordinated and coherent responses to client queries while shielding all pertinent data.
But how do you add LDAP to your company assets! That’s easy! You only need to install a security helpdesk that will protect your data for you!