The Significance of Administrator account in Windows Servers

It is critical that you protect the Administrator account in a manner that is suitable for your organization. The local Administrator account has complete control over your server, and the domain Administrator account has complete control over your network! So, it makes sense to have a very strong password for this account.

Administrator is an anonymous account in larger organizations. Take a look at your security logs in the Event Viewer and ask yourself, “How do I know who did what using the Administrator account?” It is because of this that you should create a user account with suitable administrative or delegated rights for any administrator who needs them. Using the default Administrator account is often banned unless there is an emergency. This allows every member of IT to be accurately audited by the Security log. To do this sort of thing, you’ll need to create Administrator user accounts for each administrator. You then need to ensure that each administrator has only the rights and permissions they need to do their job—and no more than necessary.

Some organizations choose to disable the Administrator account altogether. That’s one solution that you might not be big on because this account is a great backdoor in the case of password lockouts. Administrator is the one user who cannot be locked out. Those organizations could take an alternative approach. You can think of it as the “nuclear” option. You’ve all seen those movies where two generals have to turn two different keys in order to start a nuclear missile launch. You can do the same thing with the Administrator password. It can be set by two different individuals or even departments, one typing the first half of the password and the other typing the second half. Organizations needing this sort of option probably have an IT security or internal audit department that is the holder of one half of the password while the server administration team retains the other half.

One final option is to rename the Administrator account. There’s some debate about this option because the security identifier (SID; a code that Windows uses internally to uniquely identify an object) of the account can be predicted once you have access to the server or the domain. Some argue that renaming the account is pointless. However, most Internet-based attacks are actually rather robotic and unintelligent. They target typical names such as SA, root, or Administrator and try brute-force attacks to guess the password. It is still worthwhile to rename the Administrator account to defend against these forms of attack.

In the end, the same old security rules apply. Set a very strong password on your Administrator accounts, restrict knowledge of the passwords, restrict remote access where you can, and control physical access to your servers.

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