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Granting someone administrative rights to your company’s computer system is certainly convenient. It helps speed up company workflows, but it can also reveal sensitive information within your database that can have serious repercussions for the security and stability of a system.. As the number of administrative users increases, so does the risk of viruses, malware, and other vulnerabilities. In fact, employees don’t have to act maliciously to expose a system, as most vulnerabilities are exposed accidentally. As an administrator, it is important to carefully consider the potential consequences before granting these privileges to any user.
In this article, we will discuss what administrative access is, what it allows, and why you should think twice before granting access to users. Moreover, we will give you strategies to implement in case a special circumstance occurs that requires temporary administrative access.
Administrative (admin) access gives users the right to make significant alterations to a computer system. This includes adding or removing applications or important system files, installing or deleting software, changing passwords, changing network settings, or switching ownership status on files. If a user with administrative rights makes a mistake or intentionally causes harm, it can have serious consequences for the system and those who rely on it.
Some companies opt to grant user access to take some pressure off their IT service provider or upper management. This practice is particularly common among small businesses. In turn, said businesses put full faith in their employees which can come at a significant cost.
You can’t control everything users open or click on, which makes it incredibly difficult to control dangerous actions. If a user’s account is compromised, hackers could gain access to their computer, email, data, and more. The issue can get even worse if that user has admin access and is able to access more intricate settings and data. This could introduce a whole slew of issues including:
Of course, it helps to have an effective cybersecurity solution in place to help combat some of the above threats, but this is often not enough. Why not just avoid the risk altogether?
One way to mitigate the risks associated with granting administrative rights is to limit the number of users who have these privileges. Most employees can effectively do their job without ever requiring administrative access. However, there are special circumstances that arise from time to time in which an employee needs admin access for a specific task or project. Consider implementing the following strategies in case this scenario does arise:
This strategy is more effective for small businesses than it is for large organizations, but having a centralized admin account will require that users come to you before logging on. This ensures that users are only using the account when they need it, and it helps you keep an eye on who’s getting admin access and when.
Make sure each admin account is equipped with strong passwords that resist breaches. You might even consider changing said passwords every three months or so to ensure a restricted user is not abusing temporary access privileges.
While many organizations opt to give employees admin access for more convenient workflows, this practice is very risky. The risks are far and wide and can be anything from changing passwords to downloading malicious files. Keep your company safe by granting administrative access as infrequently as possible.
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