organizational unit (OU)

What is an organizational unit?

An organizational unit (OU) can refer to different things depending on the context, such as an organizational group within a company intending to accomplish a specific business function.

What is an organizational unit in Active Directory?

An OU is a container within a Microsoft Windows Active Directory (AD) domain that can hold users, groups and computers. It is the smallest unit to which an administrator can assign Group Policy settings or account permissions.

An AD organizational unit can have multiple OUs within it, but all attributes within the containing OU must be unique. Active Directory OUs cannot contain objects from other domains.

What is an organizational unit name?

Organizational unit names are administrative names assigned to OUs for easy reference.

What is an organizational unit in a digital signature?

Each OU contains a security descriptor that determines who has permission to change or access the contents of the OU. An OU also enables an organization to assign specific permissions to users or computers according to their department, job function, vulnerability types or other criteria. An organizational unit in a digital signature ensures that any changes made within that particular security context are the work of the entity designated by its digital signature owner.

What is an organizational unit in AWS?

An AWS organizational unit is a virtual container in an AWS organization that can comprise multiple accounts. It lets users apply centrally managed policies across those accounts to manage access and control resources.

Organizational units can also be used to create logical groupings of accounts that are easier to manage. For example, a company may have different departments within its organization, each with its own account structure and policies that need to be managed. The use of OUs lets administrators apply policies across departments or other organizational sub-groups easily.

What is an organizational unit in SAP?

An OU in SAP is a collection of work areas and related departments with a reporting relationship. It is used to create and maintain the organizational structure of an enterprise within the SAP system, assign authorization roles and allow for cross-department collaboration.

The OU defines the workflow elements by defining tasks that need to be fulfilled by different business units. For example, OUs in SAP include clients (across various modules), company codes, controlling areas, plants, sales organizations, purchasing organizations, employee groups and more. OUs can be used to structure business functions and portray company-specific organizational structure in an SAP System.

What is an organizational unit digital ID?

An organizational unit digital ID is a special type of digital identification or credential assigned to a particular organization by an identity provider. The ID is typically used to authenticate and authorize access to corporate networks, systems and data. The digital identity contains information about the user and cryptographic keys that enable secure authentication and authorization.

What is an organizational unit in CSR?

When ordering a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) is required by the certificate authority (CA). The CSR includes an organizational unit name SSL that refers to a department, section or trademark. However, the CA/Browser forum decided to remove the OU field from the CSR as of September 1, 2022.

See how to use a public key and private key in digital signatures, and learn techniques to troubleshoot Active Directory issues. Explore SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite and how to implement 4 AWS Organizations best practices.

This was last updated in April 2023

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