Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Least Privilege Legacy Apps and the Desktop “Wild West”: Part 1

Posted January 25, 2011    Peter McCalister

Whenever we hear the phrase “Wild West”, the first words that come to mind are old, insecure, and vulnerable. Any old western featuring Clint Eastwood or John Wayne depicts all of these descriptions.

And coincidentally “Wild West” provides the perfect analogy for the way an enterprise’s remaining legacy infrastructure interfaces with a Windows desktops environment. Though often overlooked, every IT Administrator must face the challenge of managing legacy applications that simply will not run unless individual desktops are configured for administrator access. This remains a challenge in an enterprise Windows’ desktop environment, whether a company has 100 or 10,000 seats.
The Duke
As we have detailed elsewhere, currently, there are two options available to administrators:

Option 1: Adopt best practice of removing administrative rights. Result: Overwhelms help desk with support calls and hampers productivity.

Option 2: Grant users administrative privileges. Result: Can provide access points for malware, hackers, insider threats; and, the less reported though still equally damaging, ‘fat fingered’ unintentional error.

However, what has not been clear until now is that IT Administrators and Helpdesk Operatives that choose option 2 for the sake of productivity, and thus leave their desktop environment unnecessarily exposed, are not being cavalier or necessarily neglectful. The fact is they are left with no other choice because without their legacy applications running efficiently, productivity would come to a halt.

This is the conclusion of our recent survey of 185 IT Administrators and Help Desk Operatives who are collectively responsible for over 250,000 individual Windows’ desktops, in EMEA and North America, which we publish today in our report: Legacy Applications and Least Privilege Access Management

During this week and next, we’ll be reporting on the findings which reveal the reality of IT Administrators task of juggling the configuration of multiple legacy applications on which the company relies, with the task of keeping desktops secure and compliant.

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Additional articles


Answering the age-old question, ‘What’s plugged into my network?’

Posted October 9, 2015    Alejandro DaCosta

“What’s plugged into my network?” is a question I hear frequently from security administrators. And, really, it’s no surprise why. No longer do we have to account just for the physical servers in our datacenters, workstations and a few network devices. Now we need to keep track of roaming laptops, dynamic virtual systems, off-site cloud deployments and BYOD.


Closing the Vulnerability Gap

Posted October 7, 2015    Brian Chappell

Managing vulnerabilities is a significant challenge for many organizations. The main difficulties with managing this manifest in two key areas. The first is that the list isn’t static. The second is priority.


Scottrade Breach: Identified by Federal Officials

Posted October 5, 2015    Morey Haber

Late afternoon on October 2nd, news leaked out of another large security breach, now at Scottrade. The identity count of records, in the millions again (4.6 million is the latest). This breach comes on the second day of national CyberSecurity month, the first being Experian/T-Mobile breach.