Undo button for Microsoft ID server keeps trouble at bay

Undo button for Microsoft ID server keeps trouble at bay

Semperis seeks to bulwark Windows Active Directory, the weak link in most corporate computer environments

Michael Dubinksy (L.) and Michael Brezniuk of Semperis (Photo credit: Courtesy))
Michael Dubinksy (L.) and Michael Brezniuk of Semperis (Photo credit: Courtesy))

It doesn’t take much for hackers to ruin a computer system these days; all they need is a small, well-placed piece of malware to exploit a weakness. If the services on affected networks are administered by Windows Active Directory, the hacker’s job is even easier. Notorious for “holes” that hackers can exploit to wreak havoc on a network, AD requires a lot of tender loving care by administrators to keep it healthy. Despite that, AD remains the most popular management system in business and enterprise.

For Semperis though, an Israeli start-up that provides a security solution for Windows Active Directory systems, it means plenty of potential business for their product — an “undo” button that can roll back damage caused to an AD system by a virus, coding error, or any other reason.

AD is the premier identity server in use today, authenticating users and computers in a Windows domain-based network. AD assigns and enforces security policies for all computers, folders, files, objects, and users on a network. It is, in a sense, is the key to the kingdom, said Semperis CEO Michael Dubinsky. “When AD is running properly, no one thinks about it — but when it doesn’t, all hell breaks loose,” Dubinsky said. When AD is “under the weather,” people cannot access files on a network, nor can they access services (printers, e-mail, etc.). Unlike the invasion of a mail server or the snatching of information from a database — which, as damaging as they are, do not halt the regular flow of work in a business — damage to AD can keep workers off the job for hours, if not days.

One reason for that is that restoring AD is difficult and time-consuming. Of course, no system administrator in his right mind would be without a rock-solid backup program, but AD restoration isn’t just about data; the administrator has to restore the relationships between the affected files, directories, drives, and servers. If the entire network has been compromised, the administrator will have to review and renew relationships in the entire AD “forest” (the overall structure of resources available to all users) on the network. While there are applications and services that can do some of this work, the best ones available still require hours of remediation work by administrators, said Dubinsky.

Not so with Semperis IDPro, said Dubinsky. IDPro, he said, is a “fully automatic, zero touch service that can perform a full forest recovery within minutes.” IDPro takes snapshots of an AD system as it is in use, uploading information about the system every few minutes. If a problem arises, an administrator can, with a few clicks of the mouse, restore things in AD to the way they were just before the problem cropped up. “With IDPro you can recover from database corruptions, schema extension failures and cyber-attacks within minutes using a wizard-based service which will guide you through the process, said Dubinsky, making it “the only fully automatic, zero touch service with guaranteed restore time of minutes.”

Semperis is a recent graduate of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program, and has been in business for less than a year. Already during that time, Dubinsky and his partners Michael Brezniuk, Matan Liberman, and Guy Teverovsky, have signed up several large enterprise customers in Israel and abroad, said Dubinsky. “Given the market and the unique solution we offer, we think we are going to grow very quickly. We believe a lot of companies are going to be interested in this, as it saves time and prevents losses.”

Which is part of the “big vision” to build a big company, according to Dubinsky. “Thinking big is the only way to disrupt, and we believe we have something big that will really disrupt the conception of computer security, at least for Active Directory administrators.”

read more: