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Least Privilege Windows Architecturally Speaking

Posted November 30, 2011    Peter McCalister

We’ve talked about least privilege throughout thisblog over the past two years at length, but why should a desktop user care? Ultimately, a user needs admin rights on the desktop to:
-Run system tasks
-Install software (even active X controls from the Web)
-Run existing applications built to require admin privileges

least privilege architecture

An effective least privilege solution implemented for desktops will transparently plug into Active Directory and Group Policy in order to manage the elevation of privileges based on role and policy. This is what is called least privilege because you get the minimum amount of privilege in order to do a specific task only when it is needed. If the user has no privilege, then every attempt to do these tasks will be met with a UAC prompt asking for more privilege; if the user already has admin rights, then they are at risk for inten- tional, accidental, or indirect damage to their data.

Without least privilge a desktop user has either too much privilege (being setup as the default admin) or too little privilege (being set as standard user). If they have too much privilege then they can misuse that intentionally, accidentally or indirectly. If they have too little then help desk costs will rocket up while productivity falls quickly.

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Additional articles

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On Demand Webinar – Why You Still Suck at Patching

Posted March 27, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

On Demand Webinar: Dave Shackleford recounts some of his personal experiences in patch management failure, and breaks down the most critical issues holding many teams back from patching more effectively.

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Why You Still Suck at Patching…and How to Turn Your Life Around

Posted March 25, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Live webinar | March 26, 2015 | 10am PT/1pm ET | Dave Shackleford, SANS Instructor | Why You Still Suck at Patching…and How to Turn Your Life Around

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Privilege Gone Wild 2: Over 25% of Organizations Have No Privileged Access Controls

Posted March 24, 2015    Scott Lang

BeyondTrust recently conducted a survey, with over 700 respondents, to explore how organizations view the risk of misuse from privileged account misuse, as well as trends in addressing and mitigating those risks.

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