Gartner Research

Best Practices for Removing End-User Administrator Rights on Windows

Published: 14 March 2011

ID: G00211136

Analyst(s): Michael Silver , Neil MacDonald


Removing administrator rights from end users is one of the single most-effective ways to improve overall security posture, but it must be well-planned to avoid common pitfalls and a failed project.

Table Of Contents
  • Overview
  • Agree on the Problem You're Trying to Solve, and Understand the Limitations of Removing Administrator Rights
  • Don't Overlook the Cultural and Political Challenges of Removing Administrator Rights
  • Survey and Test Applications and Usage Scenarios to Understand Administrator Access Requirements
  • Use the Migration to Windows 7 as a Catalyst for the Switch to Running as a Standard User
  • Have a Definitive Plan for How Browser Plug-Ins Will Be Handled
  • Have a Definitive Plan for How Drivers Will Be Handled
  • Plan for Additional Controls If the Goal Is to Keep End Users From Installing Software
  • Consider the Use of Third-Party Tools That Can Elevate Privileges for Exceptions
  • Design and Staff an Exception Process for When End Users Need Unapproved Software
  • Design and Staff a Process for Application Approval
  • Consider Full Virtualization as an Alternative
  • Require Application Vendors to Change
  • Tying It All Together: Don't Try to Remove Administrator Rights From All Users

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