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Should the CTO have domain administrator access?

Is it standard for the CTO or SVP of technology to have domain administrator privileges?

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This depends on the size of the company; a CTO may have a broad range of responsibilities, which may require elevated privileges.

A better way to assess appropriate privileges is to think in terms of job responsibilities. Do the day-to-day responsibilities of the CTO or SVP of technology require domain administrator privileges? If so, it is appropriate; if not, the security manager should limit his or her account privileges to the minimum required to do the job, just as everyone else in the company should.

The CTO should understand the concept of access appropriate to role and limiting account privileges. There should be a process in place to evaluate every privileged account on a periodic basis. In doing this, you take away the subjectivity of the conversation and introduce an objective process based on sound business requirements.

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This was first published in December 2008

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