Centralized Policy Management is important for companies of all sizes. It allows standards to be defined that help ensure a productive, secure, and stable workplace. Using Centralized Policy Management one can help define standards that emphasize the values of your company and prevent compromises of important company data.
If you are running Windows Server and have configured your network as a domain then you have centralized policy management. Your main server is known as a domain server and holds several important roles related to policy management. First amongst these is Active Directory. Active Directory defines objects and groups of these objects. It includes elements such as computers, printers, and individuals. Once you have organized these objects into logical groups you can use Group Policy to define standards of behavior for devices and individuals.
For example, using Group Policy you can determine which users can access certain network resources – for example, those top secret financial projections for the upcoming quarter. You can also force all computers to have their Windows Firewall turned on and to receive Automatic Updates on a weekly basis.
There are other alternatives for Centralized Network Policy Management. Perhaps one of the most popular alternatives (though still only a small percentage compared to Microsoft’s Active Directory) are Novell’s series of products.