No matter your industry or size, your business uses software, applications and systems to run efficiently. You might think that all of your employees need local admin rights to run these tools, but what you might not know is that granting local admin rights across the board can raise security concerns.
Let’s look at how over-granted local admin rights can actually hurt your organization instead of helping it.
What Are Local Admin Rights?
Local administrator rights allow employees to accomplish management-level activities in your company. This could include:
- installing or uninstalling software
- adding or removing devices to the network
- creating, deleting or modifying files and folders
- use specific applications
- creating user accounts
- alter system settings
So instead of granting this high level of rights to all users, consider the Principle of Least Privileged (PoLP). The rule states that you shouldn’t allow users to have more privileges than necessary for them to perform their jobs.
With PoLP, most of your staff, especially in the lower part of the hierarchy, should be standard users, meaning they have minimal to no management privileges and can only use programs and change settings when they don’t affect the device and its security. Think of standard users as islands in your company – they can’t really affect others around them since they don’t have the means.
Risks Associated with Local Admin Rights
Unfortunately, human users are often the weakest link in your security. Even well-intentioned users can make mistakes. Human error can lead to installing malware, clicking on phishing emails or websites, deleting files and making changes to the system’s configurations, all of which lead to system instability and downtime.
It can also provide access to hackers.
Cyber criminals heavily depend on misused administrative privileges to gain authorized access. Once a hacker is in your system, they can wreak havoc and spread malware, as well as steal sensitive data and information. Businesses suffering from data breaches often face financial losses and reputational damages.
Benefits of Limiting Local Admin Rights
That’s why limiting local admin rights is vital to keeping your company safe. Restricting rights to over-privileged users is a cost-effective security measure against cyber attacks – even if a hacker could access standard user accounts, they wouldn’t be able to bypass security tools or gain access to secured files and data. Remember what we said about standard users being islands.
By minimizing human error, you can also maintain the security systems already in existence, close the gap on vulnerabilities and improve cybersecurity compliance. All these benefits ensure your business continues its operational efficiency without jeopardizing productivity and incurring unnecessary risks.
How to Properly Limit Local Admin Rights
The first step to limit local admin rights is knowing which applications and systems require them. From there, you can determine who needs the rights vs. who wants the rights but doesn’t require them.
Remove all unnecessary accounts and distribute rights as minimally as possible based on PoLP. Make sure you explain to your staff that restricting local admin rights is about protecting the network, not a lack of trust in the team or an attempt to limit their reach – this will help smooth over any potential issues.
For the retained local admin users, monitor and audit them periodically to ensure they’re performing actions that align with their job responsibilities. Explain to these users that they have the privilege of having these rights; if they abuse them, they will face the consequences. Immediately revoke privileges for anyone who leaves the organization.
Your company can also utilize privilege access management (PAM) tools, which allow businesses to control and manage admin rights. These tools monitor, detect and prevent unauthorized access, as well as enable temporary admin rights when needed.
How Thriveon Can Help
Restricting local admin rights is difficult – you need to strike a balance between user productivity, efficient business operations and cybersecurity compliance while also safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining a solid defense against cyber attacks.
That’s where Thriveon comes in.
We can help your company determine the best way to limit local admin rights and protect your business. Our managed IT services help reduce issues and security vulnerabilities while fueling your organization's growth.
Schedule a meeting with our professional staff today.