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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.

News Year’s Resolution For 2012: Practice Safe Security

Posted January 20, 2012    Peter McCalister

Admit it. You follow certain practices within your IT environment you know to be risky from a security perspective.

You’re not alone. In fact, the number of IT professionals who routinely and knowingly take such risks is surprisingly high. Often the rationale is reasonable: you have limited resources and more IT projects than your staff can realistically manage. Your choices are : 1) miss a key deadline, 2) refuse a critical project, or 3) accept the workload you’re given and figure out a way to improve efficiency enough to complete all the projects on time. Not a tough decision to make, considering the most likely outcome to the first two choices is a not-so-subtle reminder that management teams are not interested in hearing from employees offering to do less, more slowly.

So you set out to improve efficiency instead. The problem is, “improve efficiency” typically translates to “cut corners.” Bypass a security process or two. Take a not-so-calculated risk. Grant a privilege that might be suspect; maybe even give out a root password so someone can wrap up a maintenance job that’s been on hold while the admin assigned to the task has been out sick. And these help desk calls that keep coming in for this new software the marketing team needs on their desktops – maybe just give them local admin rights for the time being so they can download the software themselves. You can always go back next week and restrict them back to standard users (if you remember to).

“Improving efficiency” may also mean signing off on a compliance control without proper examination. Who has time to inspect sudoer files on 250 servers every single quarter to validate access privileges? Let’s spot-check, say, 25 instead. Just this quarter, until you can get caught up.

The interesting thing is that for a small upfront time investment, you can obtain tools to improve efficiency in these areas permanently. You don’t have to go to 250 servers to inspect sudoer files if you centralize privileged user policies in one place and have one entitlement report to examine. And elevating a privilege on the desktop so people have what they need to do their jobs can be done almost instantly, without granting local admin rights. All you need are the right tools – ones that allow you to keep your IT environment secure without impacting productivity. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep: practicing safe security, efficiently.

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Additional articles

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Don’t Create a Different sudoers File for Each System

Posted May 20, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

What if you have multiple Linux and/or Unix systems? Sudo management can become onerous and unwieldy if you try to manage a different sudoers file on each system. The good news is that sudo supports multiple systems.

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What Does Microsoft Local Administrator Password Solution Really Do?

Posted May 19, 2015    Morey Haber

LAPS is a feature that allows the randomization of local administrator accounts across the domain. Although it would seem that this capability overlaps with features in BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker Password Safe (PBPS), the reality is it is more suited for simple use cases such as changing the local Windows admin account and not much more.

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On Demand Webinar: Securing Windows Server with Security Compliance Manager

Posted May 14, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

On Demand Webinar: Security Expert Russell Smith, explains how to use Microsoft’s free Security Compliance Manager (SCM) tool to create and deploy your own security baselines, including user and computer authentication settings.

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