Contributor:
Paul Kenyon
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.

Giving users control of their devices in a corporate environment, allowing them to tinker with settings and run applications as they please, comes with potential for disaster – not just for the single user, but for the entire corporate network. Yet, complete elimination of admin rights is a problem itself. If rights are too restrictive, users are left struggling to complete their day-to-day tasks. So, how should organizations reach middle ground on the access spectrum? Here are three steps to strike a better balance:

Group Policy

With Microsoft, Group Policy controls what users can and cannot do on the system. By restricting certain actions, such as blocking access to the task manager or disabling the downloading of executable files, many of the help desk’s incoming tickets can be prevented.

Don’t Give Users Admin Rights

If you’ve made the decision to remove admin rights, don’t let them seep out. However, there are instances where IT might need to bestow admin rights on users to resolve a particular problem. Instead of granting full admin privileges, a least privilege approach allows IT to control which applications and devices can run in your environment. This model allows for productivity, while still reducing risk.

Talk to Users

IT should communicate with users, not just enforce restrictions. This allows users to understand exactly what they are being stopped from doing – and why. It could include, if appropriate, an alternative course of action to reduce costly support and improve overall user experience.

To accommodate each of these fundamental steps, Avecto’s Defendpoint bundles them all into a seamless, all-in-one solution. By integrating with existing group policies, it targets individual applications for very granular privilege management, ensuring that users log on with standard accounts, while having the ability access any apps that require admin rights. By replacing UAC with corporate-customizable messages, Defendpoint effectively communicates messages that are actually meaningful to its users and their particular circumstances. With Defendpoint in place, organizations can round out the overall strength of their security posture by protecting their fatal weakness, their Achilles heel – their admin rights.

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