’s New Active Directory Outage and Disaster Recovery Survey

hero approved survey was recently asked by Cayosoft to conduct a survey amongst our audience regarding Active Directory (AD) downtime and disaster recovery strategies.’s extensive experience in the marketplace, coupled with our standing as a representative voice for IT Professionals, allows us to bring distinct insights into prevailing trends and their evolution over time.

The survey, which was conducted in Q4 2023, surfaces some surprising information about the state of Active Directory disaster recovery preparedness today. Even though AD is now more than 20 years old, and it is often the primary Identity and Authentication Management (IAM) solution for on-premises IT resources, our survey results revealed that many organizations do not understand its importance in business operations.

The survey resulted in two pieces of research that you can download today. The first is Cayosoft’s analysis of the survey data. As leaders in the Active Directory recovery space, Cayosoft is able to provide insight into the specific challenges in backing up and restoring large, complex Active Directory infrastructures.

Secondly, Research Lab is presenting the raw results from our survey with some editorial commentary to help you put it into context, which you can download here.

Active Directory survey highlights alarming trend

Since Cayosoft last commissioned a similar survey in 2021, there’s been a 172% increase in AD forest-wide outages. And 18% of enterprises reported that “all or most” of their line-of-business systems are reliant on Active Directory (AD).

But according to the survey, 94% of enterprises (84% of everyone) cannot recover their AD in minutes. Our survey results show that an AD outage is expensive with loss of sales, staff productivity, and reputational damage.

The full Cayosoft analysis of the survey results is available to download here.

If AD is so important, why is it that disaster recovery isn’t a high priority? Despite the longevity of AD, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the important role it plays in IT operations, how vulnerable it can be to attack, and why the distributed domain controller (DC) replication model doesn’t protect organizations against today’s sophisticated cyberthreats.

Attacks involving Active Directory are on the rise

One recent example involved MGM Resorts, which according to Okta, started with malicious actors likely obtaining passwords to highly-privileged accounts in Active Directory. The actors were then able to persuade IT service desk staff to reset multifactor authentication (MFA) on those accounts, enabling them to access the environment.

Privileged account passwords are easy to obtain if organizations don’t follow AD security best practices, like restricting the use of domain administrator accounts to Protected Access Workstations (PAWs) that are specially hardened to ensure passwords cannot be simply exposed. All too often, privileged AD accounts are used for everyday IT support tasks, like remotely connecting to end-user devices. As end-user devices might already be compromised, malicious actors can use them to steal privileged AD account passwords.

Once a malicious actor has access to a privileged Active Directory account, it can be used to write changes to the AD database, install ransomware on domain controllers, and launch a denial-of-service attack against AD. But it’s common for hackers to lie low in environments for long periods, collecting as much data as they can, before launching an attack.

Implementing an effective Active Directory disaster recovery solution

It is challenging to secure complex AD infrastructures. And even if your organization can implement best practice security configurations and procedures, AD is so critical to business operations that you should always be prepared to restore it quickly in the event of a security breach or other event that could cause an outage.

The problem is compounded by the difficulty in finding Active Directory expertise. While many IT Pros are familiar with AD in day-to-day operations, there is a skill shortage in securing, architecting, migrating, deploying, and recovering Active Directory.

As the survey highlighted, general backup solutions and reliance on Microsoft’s manual disaster recovery procedures can be costly in an outage. Also, most organizations can’t restore AD quickly because it would require maintaining standby on-premises hardware to substitute production systems while being restored.

If you would like to learn more about the challenges organizations face today recovering Active Directory and how you can reduce recovery times from days to just a few minutes, download Cayosoft’s analysis of our survey results here.