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Change from Local Admins to Local Users Group

Posted on 2014-10-09
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Last Modified: 2014-10-09
I look after a number of networks for small businesses and most if not all have their Users as local administrators (all are in a domain environment).
From a security and operational perspective my preference is to have Users not be local admins, but I am curious to if there are any best practices or guides on transitioning and any gotchas I should test first.
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Question by:Flipp
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40372078
Having a regular (normal) user as a local admin is a sure road to problems. All of my clients have accepted this thinking and problem level is very low.
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by:Flipp
ID: 40372089
I suppose a two fold issue in that there is the technical side which I want to get some info on as well as test, but to sell to the business manager .... any advice?
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 2000 total points
ID: 40372095
As I noted, clients have asked me and we have tested local admin users. It always results in problems (people do silly things with computers). As a result, we have backed away and at this point ALL users in ALL clients are regular users. None are admins. It is cheaper for me and my colleague to service requests regularly than to fix broken operating systems. Managers and owners find we are more economical than careless or unthinking users.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40372098
technical side which I want to get some info on as well as test, <--- I am not sure what technical information. There are as many ways to break computers as there are users.
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Author Comment

by:Flipp
ID: 40372108
Things like configuring UAC or other components that will affect a User that goes from being an admin to a standard user. I know keeping Adobe Flash and Java up to date could be a headache if we restrict our users from these upgrades due to software requirements to always having latest version and regularity of upgrades being released.
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John Hurst earned 2000 total points
ID: 40372110
Users should never be allowed to configure UAC. It almost never needs to be turned off.

Adobe and Flash are problem children. We just schedule those updates.  People will try to download Flash (it can't be) and get malware in the process.

Windows updates are automatic on shutdown.

After a decade at this, I have heard ALL the reasons and then some. I am cheaper than a user who does not know what they are doing.
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by:Flipp
ID: 40372115
Do you deploy/manage updates for Reader, Flash and Java Runtime? I am pretty happy with simply using GPO to deploy these but also know the application itself can update itself.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40372119
Our clients are small businesses so we just update as needed. Adobe updates 2 or 3 times a year. We see clients weekly. Similarly with Flash and Java. It is easy to manage.  We have a number of laptops not on domain (mostly not in the office).

Windows updates are the most frequent and they are automatic.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40372122
my preference is to have Users not be local admins,  <-- I certainly agree and I think I have given you lots of reason to proceed with your own preference. It is not perfect but it is better than the alternative.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Flipp
ID: 40372124
Thanks John - a great summary. I do like the basic setup of managing the core software updates across platforms with Users as non-admins.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40372125
@Flipp - You are most welcome and I was very happy to help. Good luck with your clients and users.
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