Whenever we hear the phrase “Wild West”, the first words that come to mind are old, unsecure, and vulnerable. Any old western featuring Clint Eastwood or John Wayne depicts all of these descriptions. And coincidentally “Wild West” provides the perfect analogy for the way an enterprise’s remaining legacy infrastructure interfaces with a Windows desktops environment.

Though often overlooked, every IT Administrator must face the challenge of managing legacy applications that simply will not run unless individual desktops are configured for administrator access. Indeed, in an enterprise Windows’ desktop environment, whether a company has 100 or 10,000 seats, the challenge of managing access is fraught with difficulty.

Currently, there are two options available to administrators:

Option 1: Adopt best practice of removing administrative rights.
Result: Overwhelms help desk with support calls and hampers productivity.

Option 2: Grant users administrative privileges.
Result: Can provide access points for malware, hackers, insider threats; and, the less reported though still equally damaging, ‘fat fingered’ unintentional error.

What has not been clear until now is that IT Administrators and Helpdesk Operatives that choose option 2 for the sake of productivity, and thus leave their desktop environment unnecessarily exposed, are not being cavalier or necessarily neglectful. The fact is they are left with no other choice because without their legacy applications running efficiently, productivity would come to a halt.

Legacy applications return administrators to the “Wild West”.

Increasingly difficult to thwart, attacks by people with legitimate access to an organization's computers, devices and networks represent a growing problem across the globe. These insider threats frustrate Admins, auditors and managers who lack the resources to properly identify them, oversee their behavior and protect mission-critical information technology (IT) assets from the misuse of privilege.

In a study conducted by BeyondTrust, this report details the results of a survey of 185 IT Administrators and Help Desk Operatives who are collectively responsible for over 250,000 individual Windows’ desktops, in EMEA and North America.

This report details their experiences with legacy applications in relation to their ability to effectively elevate access to the networks they manage.