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SQL 2012 NT_Authority|System, sysadmin is not checked by default

Posted on 2014-04-02
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Last Modified: 2014-04-08
I have an application from a 3rd party that requires a different setting on my SQL 2012.  I'm not real familiar with MS SQL, but can follow instructions through the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and I have a couple of databases already setup and working.  The vendor for the application is stating the following (see below), but I'm not real sure what needs to be done.  Can someone give me the steps necessary to get this configured correctly?  

Here is what they are telling me:

The service runs under the Local System (NT AUTHORITY\System) account. In SQL 2012 this Local System (NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM) account is not automatically provisioned in the sysadmin fixed server role.
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Question by:ontheborder
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Assisted Solution

by:Brian Crowe
Brian Crowe earned 300 total points
ID: 39973678
Within SSMS open Security under the database in question.  Double-click on the "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM" user.  Select "Server Roles".  Check "sysadmin"

Done
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Abrahams
ID: 39973680
What they want you to do is grant SA to the local system account.  I would push back on that.  The most that I would ever grant to a third party is DBO on their own database.

Ask them if the service can run under another application account (eg: 3rdPartyService), and if DBO is sufficient for their purposes on their database(s).
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by:Scott Pletcher
Scott Pletcher earned 100 total points
ID: 39973710
I agree with Kyle.  Indeed, I'd be concerned that their app seems to have admin authority on the server itself.

I suspect they don't need sysadmin.  They might need dbcreator (at least until their db(s) are created), and a few specific other roles/permissions, but they should not need sysadmin.

Make it clear to your management that if they give sysadmin to the app, you cannot guarantee performance for the instance.
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Author Comment

by:ontheborder
ID: 39973714
The 3rd party is a trusted vendor and we have security agreements with them, so it should be okay to allow this type of access.  

BriCrowe - I believe you're on track.   When I check the Database > XXXX > Security    I don't see "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM" as an option.   I opened both the Users folder and the Roles folder, and don't see it listed as an option.
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Assisted Solution

by:Brian Crowe
Brian Crowe earned 300 total points
ID: 39973719
It may be that 2012 doesn't even add the user.  In that case you need to add the login as you would any other user either via the UI or by script.

CREATE LOGIN [NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM] FROM WINDOWS;
GO

Open in new window

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Author Comment

by:ontheborder
ID: 39973749
Thanks, BriCrowe.  From what I can tell the NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM account isn't installed automatically on MS SQL 2012.  I'll give your suggestion a try later today and see if that works.
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Author Comment

by:ontheborder
ID: 39973889
After executing

CREATE LOGIN [NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM] FROM WINDOWS;


I received the following message.

The server principal 'NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM' already exists.
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Assisted Solution

by:Kyle Abrahams
Kyle Abrahams earned 100 total points
ID: 39973989
you have to look at logins on the server level, NOT the database level.

I would recommend NOT giving sa role to this account as the 3rd party will have access to do whatever they want on that server.  (Including seeing data to other DBs you have in there).  If that's the only thing on that server than by all means go ahead.
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Accepted Solution

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ontheborder earned 0 total points
ID: 39976616
After further review we've decided that due to questions about security, we are not going to pursue this configuration change.  I haven't been able to get assurance from the vendor that this wouldn't compromise our security.  We didn't attempt to provisioned the sysadmin as a fixed server role any further.  Unless someone has any other information and feels like this is safe, we're going to move to a completely different option that the vendor is offering through their application.
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Abrahams
ID: 39976784
granting SA is giving the keys to the kingdom for the database server in question.

If the vendor has another option I would go with it.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ontheborder
ID: 39985543
Thanks.  All answers were helpful.  Moving to a less risky "Plan B".
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