Los Alamos Replaces sudo with PowerBroker for Servers

BeyondTrust, April 20th, 2011

Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico delivers scientific and engineering solutions for the nation’s most crucial and complex problems. Its primary responsibility is to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Los Alamos employs more than 11,000 employees and contractors, making it one of the largest multi-disciplinary institutions in the world.

As with any institution of this nature, Los Alamos National Laboratory was required to perform an audit of the organization’s cyber security systems. This analysis included the inspection of security functions, reviewing documents and records to ensure adequate security policies, and verifying the organization was in compliance with federal regulations. At the time of the audit, the institution emplyoed sudo (an open-source software program that tracks activity on a machine-by-machine basis) to manage privileged access across their UNIX and Linux systems. With so many servers in the network, Los Alamos National Laboratory found their IT administrators were spending excessive amounts of time managing the activity and reports of each individual machine. When the lab found out it would be adding an additional 200 UNIX and Linux systems, it became clear that sudo was no longer a viable solution for securely managing user access. This is where BeyondTrust came in.


Los Alamos National Laboratory selected PowerBroker for Servers as the answer to their access management problem. After extensive review and analysis, it became clear this was the best solution as it allowed for centralized authorization and reporting across the lab’s heterogeneous network. With PowerBroker for Servers, Los Alamos National Laboratory was able to granularly delegate root admin privileges, complete and secure an audit trail of all delegated actions, and capture keystrokes for easier backtracking.


If your enterprise is still using sudo for access management, get more info about a better, more secure solution. You can also read the full case studyhere.