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What are Privileged Accounts and Types of Privileged Accounts and Importance?

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  • January 03 2024

What are Privileged Accounts and Types of Privileged Accounts and Importance?

Privileged Accounts are those accounts which have elevated access on a server, device, website, application etc. These accounts are considered as the king of the kingdom as they have all those permissions by which any modification on server, device etc. can be done, deleting files, installing something etc.

In Simple terms, accounts which are having admin permissions on any device.

Privileged Accounts examples:

  • Local Administrator
  • Root
  • Domain Admins
  • Service Accounts
  • Database Admin
  • Network Device Admin
  • Application Accounts
  • Cloud Admin etc.



How to identify Privileged Accounts?

There're many tools available in market like PAM tools, IAM etc. and by using those tools you can easily identify whether its a privileged account or non-privileged account.

Or just checking the group ownerships also someone can identiy. As there are inbuilt admin groups gets created when you build a server or application. For example: When a Windows Server is build by default an Administrators group gets created. If an account is a part of that inbuilt administrators group then automatically it will have all admin permissions on the server.

And if someone gets the password of that account, he or she can do anything on that server means stealing some critical info if its stored some where on the server, removing mandatory files, installing Virus etc.

That's why privileged accounts are so critical and the passwords must be secure in some PAM tools or Secret Managers.

Difference between Privileged Accounts & Non-Privileged Accounts?

The main difference is about the permissions. A privileged accounts is a super admin having elevated access whereas a non-privileged accounts are those accounts which have only read permissions on a server or device etc.

Non-Privileged accounts are weak users or you can say weak accounts which are not authorized to make any changes in application or a server.

For example: You created one account on Active Directory and did not add that account to any group. So, by default that user will have only read permissions on Active Directory and can't make any modifications or add or delete.

To secure Privileged Accounts, Privileged Access Management (PAM) tools are used which provides strong encryptions and advanced security. Using PAM tool, account's password can be rotated automatically and every usage activity can be tracked down. If someone try to exploit the Privileged Accounts, notifications can be set and managers or leads can be notified.


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