Why would I want to deprovision an Active Directory Group?

Most of my posts are about issues I’ve run into on the job. However, I occasionally look at the search terms that brought people here, and saw the question, “why would I want to deprovision a group?”

Deprovisioning in ActiveRoles Server is mostly focused around user accounts, because those are what most visibly consume resources: mailboxes (Exchange CAL), space on a file server, an ARS license (ARS licensing is completely based on the number of enabled User objects) and are most subject to abuse if there’s no legitimate need for them anymore. You can copy and then modify the sample “Built-in Policy – Default Deprovisioning” that ships with ARS. I recommend that you copy any Built-In Policy and change your copy.

However, groups can also be deprovisioned. Deprovisioning lets you take a group out of action without deleting it. What “out of action” means depends on exactly what groups do in your environment, and what information you need to retain. Do you need to keep the membership list of the group? Do you want to be able to “undeprovision” it, bringing it quickly back into use? Is there any data in the Description or Info (Notes) attributes that other systems use for accounting? Do you need a record of who the secondary owners were? Should a group that granted read privileges on a departmental folder be deprovisioned differently from one that was used to give administrator access to the file server that was at an office that has just been closed?

Deprovisioning policy for groups, just like deprovisioning policy for users, can be configured in both the Policy Object wizard, which is a good idea if it’s a simple attribute change based on a pattern or another attribute in the same object, or a script that you then attach to the Policy Object.

You can configure different deprovisioning policies for different OUs, which you then attach to the container you want to apply them to with Policy Object Links, similar to Access Template Links, except for the lack of a snazzy AD Management Shell cmdlet that will let you do them in bulk, like you can with New-QARSAccessTemplateLink.

If you create your Group Deprovisioning policy actions in a script, you put them in the onPreDeprovision(), onDeprovision() and onPostDeprovision() event handlers. Make sure you put your group-related code inside an if ($Request.class -eq “Group”) {  } black to distinguish it from what you want to do when $Request.class -eq “User”. You should do that object class check even if you have separate Policy Objects for deprovisioning user and deprovisioning groups.

As far as whether something should be in onPreDeprovision(), onDeprovision() or onPostDeprovision(), think about what needs to happen before the group goes offline, what attributes you want to be able to restore, and what needs to happen after everything else is finished.

onPreDeprovision() might do checks to see if it is in the local Administrators group for a specific sensitive server, and this has to happen in onPreDeprovision() if converting the group from a Security Group to a Distribution List is part of your deprovisioning process (Distribution Lists do not have SIDs.)

onPostDeprovision() is for clean-up activity: perhaps dynamically determining who the recipients for the notification email should be.

If it is a property change you wish to revert, however, it should be in the onDeprovision() event handler, because that is what is recorded in the data retrieved by that group’s edsvaDeprovisionRecordXML, which is used if you ever tell ARS to undo the deprovisioning.

Once you’ve got your group deprovisioning the way you want it, you might want to use PowerShell to deprovision them the same way you can deprovision users with Deprovision-QADUser. There’s no native Deprovision-QADGroup cmdlet, but I’ve written one, along with UnDeprovision-QADUser and UnDeprovision-QADGroup: Deprovision and UnDeprovision Users and Groups with PowerShell

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