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Re: Non-administrator advantages / disadvantages
From: Geoffrey Steven Nathan <geoffnathan () WAYNE EDU>
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2012 07:45:33 -0500

I will agree with Kevin here. My wife is a high-level administrator here, and often has to act very quickly on tricky 
personnel issues. When someone sends her a pdf related (say) to an emergency dismissal and her Acrobat insists on an 
update NOW, the last thing she needs is to submit a support ticket and wait a couple of days before she can read the 
file. This kind of thing happens more often than we might think (well, maybe not the emergency dismissal), but the 
notion that IT support student workers' time is more valuable than the Vice President's time, so we need to hold up 
their work to minimize IT support costs needs to be discussed with all parties involved. 
And yes, there may be tools that will make such updates automatic, or make remote updating trivial, but actually 
implementing those tools still seems a long way off. 
Just my 2c worth. 


Geoffrey S. Nathan 
Faculty Liaison and IT Policy Coordinator, C&IT 
and Professor, Linguistics Program 
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT) 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Kevin Shalla" <kshalla () UIC EDU>
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 4:48:38 PM
Subject: Re: Non-administrator advantages / disadvantages

A few have admin rights now, and there’s a stampede by others to also
get it, so we’re considering granting it to many others.


From: The EDUCAUSE Security Constituent Group Listserv
[mailto:SECURITY () LISTSERV EDUCAUSE EDU] On Behalf Of Steven
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:00 PM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Non-administrator advantages / disadvantages


Most users don’t require anything above basic user privilege to do
their jobs. If you give them administrator rights, you are giving up
control of their machines. The users can install any software,
bypass group policy and possibly gain domain admin rights (if a
domain admin logs in to their machine). They will also be much more
vulnerable to malware. Most malware requires administrator privilege
for full functionality because admin rights are needed to install
device drivers, put a network card into promiscuous mode or install
a new service.

Prohibited software can span a pretty wide range: games, P2P
software, unlicensed/pirated software, personally owned software.
You need to worry about performance/compatibility problems, security
issues, copyright.

What’s the context behind your question? Do your users have admin
rights now? Are you considering granting or taking away admin rights
for everyone or just some users?


Steven Alexander Jr.
Online Education Systems Manager
Merced College
3600 M Street
Merced, CA 95348-2898
(209) 384-6191
alexander.s () mccd edu

From: The EDUCAUSE Security Constituent Group Listserv [
mailto:SECURITY () LISTSERV EDUCAUSE EDU ] On Behalf Of Shalla, Kevin
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:24 PM
Subject: [SECURITY] Non-administrator advantages / disadvantages

I’m trying to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of
prohibiting administrator access for users of Windows computers. Can
you provide feedback on what I have below? By the way, what’s an
example of software that is generally prohibited? Is BitTorrent an
example? Is it common?

Most malware stays on one user profile, so other users on same
machine are unaffected. Deleting the profile can remove the malware.
Prohibited (by policy) software doesn’t get installed. Combinations
of software known to be problematic are not installed (like multiple
active versions of antivirus).

User cannot install or update some software immediately – have to
wait for desktop support.

Kevin Shalla


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