BeyondTrust

Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

Welcome to Security in Context

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

Removing Users From The Local Administrators Group

Posted December 8, 2011    Peter McCalister

When embarking on a project to remove administrator rights from users, it is important to understand all of the options available for modifying local group membership on your clients. If you have hundreds or even thousands of desktops, it is not feasible to do this manually. Fortunately, Microsoft provides two mechanisms in Group Policy to manage local group membership. The first is a Group Policy extension called Restricted Groups. Restricted Groups allows you to overwrite the existing local group with what you have configured in the Group Policy setting. The other option is within Group Policy Preferences. The Local Users and Groups extension allows you to modify the local group membership, without overwriting the existing groups.

Restricted Groups
Restricted Groups can be configured by opening a GPO and navigating to the following location:
Computer Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Restricted Groups

If you create a Restricted Group for the Local
Administrators group, the GPO will overwrite the existing local group membership and set the membership to whatever has been configured in the GPO. If a user adds himself to the local administrators group, the next time the policy refreshes, the local group membership will be reset back to what is defined in the Restricted Group.

Another option to manage local group membership is to use Group Policy Preferences in Windows Server 2008. Group Policy Preferences was introduced in Windows Server 2008 after Microsoft acquired DesktopStandard Corp in 2006 (BeyondTrust was spun out of that transaction).

To configure Group Policy Preferences, simply open a GPO and maximize the Preferences, then maximize the Control Panel Settings.

When you right-click and create a new policy, you will have the option to add, remove or even modify local group membership. This method of managing local group membership provides more flexibility over Restricted Groups. In the example below, the policy will remove all members of the local administrators group and add the Domain Admins group back in.

Once you have decided on your strategy on how to technically remove admin rights, it is time to consider the things that will break when you actually take the administrator privileges away from users. Typically, there will be several applications that your business relies on that will require administrator privileges to run. There will also be system tasks that users will no longer be able to run because they require administrator privileges. Finally, users will no longer be able to install most applications since they also require administrator privileges. These are challenges all organizations will face when removing administrator privileges from end users, even in Windows 7 deployments. This is where PowerBroker Desktops, Windows Edition comes to the rescue. PowerBroker Desktops can elevate these apps, tasks and installs, dynamically without any impact to the end users. You can even measure your progress with robust reporting capabilities that include automatic discovery of applications that require administrator privileges in your enterprise, but it also will show you how many user accounts have local administrator privileges, as shown below.

Download PowerBroker Desktops, Windows Edition today

Leave a Reply

Additional articles

Ponemon_Report

Big Surprise: Cost of Data Breaches Up; Are you Doing the *Right* Things to Mitigate the Costs?

Posted May 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study – costs are going up – to the tune of a 23% increase in total costs of data breaches, and a 12% increase in per-record cost since 2013. Are you doing the right things to mitigate costs?

Tags:
, ,
IRS-Data-Breach

The tip of the IRS data breach – and it IS an iceberg

Posted May 27, 2015    Morey Haber

The IRS has been warned for decades about their security best practices. And now, at least 100,000 Americans have had their records compromised. How? The IRS uses a service called “Get Transcript”.

Tags:
, , ,
dave-shackleford-headshot

Tales from the Datacenter: Vulnerability Management Nightmares

Posted May 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Vulnerability scanning, threat management, risk analysis, patching, and configuration management are some of the major activities usually associated with vulnerability management, and none of these are new…so why are we failing so badly at many of them?

Tags:
, ,