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November 1st, 2012

Admin Rights – Your Achilles Heel

Whether a large enterprise or an SMB, every organization experiences IT hindrances that result in support calls to the help desk. Calls might span a variety of issues, from trouble downloading software to something as simple as connecting to a printer. At a glance, these issues seem to stand independently of each other, differing in nature, cause and solution. However, organizations should realize there is often an underlying basis that serves as their common root – admin rights. While this might not immediately stand out as a core weakness, admin rights might be considered the Achilles heel, where one slight misuse could bring the entire organization to its knees.

 

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Turning Concern into Action

Edward Snowden’s data leakage at the NSA has certainly caused a ripple effect across the entire IT landscape, forcing organizations across all industries to take a closer look at their current security defenses. At the McAfee FOCUS conference in October this year, we conducted a survey to examine just how closely security professionals were rethinking their approaches to security as a result of the NSA incident. And just as important – if not more – was determining how many of those professionals were actually converting these attitudes to action.

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The Rise and Rise of ‘Standard’ Mode

User Account Control was a great idea but it has taken privilege management to fulfill its potential

How did computer security get into such a troubled and confused state? It’s a question security professionals must ask themselves on a daily basis as they face demands that threaten to explode budgets while offering no guarantee that any of the expensively-assembled defenses will actually work.

The roots of the malaise goes back to the early years of the millennium when enterprises and consumers using Windows 2000 and Windows XP were suddenly ambushed by waves of clever software attacks that warned the world that criminals had floored an evolutionary accelerator pedal. By the time XP and Windows received its first major security upgrade in the form of Service Pack 2 in 2004, it was becoming clear that security had entered an unsettling era that might take decades to play out.

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Whose job is it to watch the Admins?

Administrators, privileged network deities or just a type of ordinary network user much the same as anyone else?  Years into an age where IT security has become a mainstream topic, this remains the sort of polarizing question that can provoke one of two reactions; shock or relief.

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Enhanced User Experience in Privilege Guard v3.8

Privilege Guard’s UAC Replacement Extends to MSI Packages

For quite some time we have supported Windows Installer packages, empowering standard users to run MSI’s, MSU’s and MSP’s that would require administrator privileges to complete. This functionality is fundamental in most least privilege deployments, where power users are delegated the privilege of choosing their own productivity tools.

We worked closely with our customers to understand how we can improve this offering, and came up with some additional use cases. We listened, and we delivered a much better user experience in 3.8.

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Mitigate Operational Risk: Service Control in Privilege Guard 3.8

Privilege Guard becomes the only privilege management solution to provide control of Windows Services

Services play an integral part of endpoint functionality – they are components of many desktop products, and almost all server implementations. On desktops, services run in the background across multiple user sessions, most commonly for products such as antivirus, firewalls and other security products. On servers, many roles function as services because of the performance and high availability requirements of applications in the datacenter.

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