Administrator Privileges

What are administrator privileges?

Administrator privileges are special permissions given to a user who needs to perform activities such as:

  • software installation
  • software configuration
  • setting up printers

Administrator privileges are only necessary when performing these activities.  Activities that a user might perform in the course of their daily work - administrative, research, or otherwise - should not require administrator privileges.

If you are the owner of your computer, you already have administrator privileges over that computer. For computers owned by Missouri S&T, administrator privileges must be requested. In the past, Missouri S&T has provided administrator privileges to all users who request it. This plan caused major security risks, which is why changes must be made.

Why can administrator privileges be dangerous?

Many modern day malware attacks are designed to take advantage of those who have administrator privileges. These attacks may try to:

  • install and run malicious software
  • install persistent software designed to last even after your machine has been rebuilt
  • disable your computer protection
  • get access to your machine and data at any time without being detected
  • get access to the credentials or data of others who have used or will use your computer

Capitalizing on the security risks inherent with administrator privileges can turn an attack from a mild inconvenience into something much worse.


What are we changing?

As administrator privileges are mostly used for software installation, it is necessary to note that there are ways to install some programs without needing to personally be granted administrator privileges. These methods are detailed below:

  • AppsAnywhere: A self-service software delivery program for large numbers of computers. On January 1, 2024, it will become usable offline to accommodate laptop use and situations of poor network connectivity. 
  • IT can install software for you without exposure to legal and fiscal risk: IT will address your software installation as promptly as the help queue depth permits, protecting you from exposure to litigation. Allow as much time as possible as the software may have difficult configurations that may require vendor support.
  • The LAPS Program will continue to be utilized on a limited basis when appropriate: This program grants administrator privileges for a short time, but is an imperfect solution and has begun to be reduced in favor of increased IT support.
  • Administrator Delegate Program: a new program for administrator privileges in research labs beginning on January 1, 2024, where IT will partner with a faculty or staff member who will function as an IT delegate with administrator privileges.

For more information about these changes, see our Administrator Privileges Adjustments page.