Coming off the release in December, in which we integrated DameWare into Web Help Desk, the team rolled straight into working on formal Active Directory integration as discussed here. With the product today, you can export a list of users from Active Directory (AD) and manually do a one-time import of those accounts into DameWare. While this is helpful, as an Administrator of the product you still have to manage user passwords separately.
Based on feedback from our customers, we are enhancing this integration and I wanted to give everyone a sneak peek into how things are progressing now that we have been in beta for a couple weeks.
First, when you login to Central Server, you will notice the top ribbon menu is a bit different in that we added a new button and tweaked an existing button a bit as highlighted below.
Let’s first walk through defining a new connection with our Active Directory server. By clicking on the AD Import button, a wizard will be presented in which you can select if this sync/import will just be for a single time or if we want this to occur on a regular scheduled basis. Since we are leveraging Active Directory Groups, if you were to select synchronized, on the back end after the initial synchronization, then going forward we will check if new users have been added to the group since we last synchronized with Active Directory and automatically import that account into DameWare. I will provide more details on how this works more specifically in a bit later in this post.
Next we specify the connection details for the Active Directory Domain, nothing out of the ordinary here to review and discuss with the exception that you can use the local domain, or any other domain for authentication.
Since we are leveraging Active Directory Groups, here is where we get to select one or more groups we want to import users from. For environments that have a large number of groups, we can auto filter down the list based on text typed into the dialogue below the group picker.
AD Groups have now been selected and the final step of the wizard allows you define which license is associated with each group and define the schedule in which we will synchronize with the Active Directory server.
We complete the wizard and an initial synchronization occurs if desired. After the import is completed, you will now see a list of the users imported from AD. Note the login name I highlighted is in domain\username format.
If you ever want to go back and edit a synchronization profile to change the schedule, groups to synchronize, etc. you can click on the AD Manager as highlighted in the first screenshot and you will be presented with a view of all the profiles that were defined and other information and actions as can be seen below.
Your Active Directory accounts are now synchronized, so what will the experience now look like for your technicians using the product? If you are familiar with applications like SQL Studio, DameWare will have a similar experience in that you can choose either Windows or DameWare Authentication. If you select Windows Authentication, then we will use the credentials you are logged into that machine with if you are logged into a domain. If you “Remember last connection settings” and “Don’t show this again”, going forward when you launch the application it will perform a Single Sign On or SSO and automatically log you into the DameWare as long as that account has permissions in DameWare.
Once logged in, if you look at the bottom of the application, as seen highlighted below, you will notice you are logged in as domain/username or in this case lab.tex\labuser.
That’s it, pretty simple and straightforward. We are currently running beta with a handful of customers, but if you have active maintenance and are interested in giving us some feedback, then please send me a direct message via thwack and we can set something up.