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Service Accounts

Safeguard access to accounts interacting with Operating System and Applications

What are Service Accounts (SA)?

Accounts that are generally used for interacting with the operating system without any human intervention are called service accounts. They can have domain privileges depending on the application’s requirement or local privileges interacting with the components of the operating system.
 
A service account is responsible for carrying out background operations in the system as a system or a normal user. They are created either manually or automatically during software installation for running applications and programs at the behest of the operating system. Service account passwords remain constant throughout their license period, known only to the users delegated with relevant access. Any change in the credential might cause discrepancies, as it operates with multiple activities and may bring down applications.

Do Service Accounts have Passwords?

When installing a software, the password for the SA usually remains the default vendor password. SA Passwords remain constant throughout its license period, known only to the users delegated with relevant access. Any change in the credential might cause discrepancies, as it operates with multiple activities and may bring down applications.

What is the Difference between a Service Account and a User Account?

Simply put, service accounts are used by system services such as mail transport agents, web servers, databases, etc., whereas user accounts are used by real users. A service account (or a system) corresponds to a service running on the system rather than to the user using the system. Usually, for every task on the system, there is a service account with its own set of privileges (e.g., its network ports, its own files, etc.).

Should Service Account Passwords Expire?

Typically, a 1-year expiration is the standard period after which the accounts expire. However, in a more secure environment, three months is expected.

How to Secure Service Accounts from Cyber Threats?

Just like user accounts, service accounts must also act on password policies. Their passwords must be strong and complex. It is better to have a Privilege Access Management (PAM) solution in place to control and limit access, as well as enforce strong password policies

What is an Example of a Service Account?

It all depends on the system you are dealing with. Each system labels service accounts differently. For example:Service accounts are known as inetd or init in UNIX and Linux and can execute applications.

When it comes to the cloud, they are referred to as Virtual SA, Cloud SA, or Cloud Compute SA.And in Windows, the most common types of service accounts are:

  • LocalSystem
  • Local user account
  • NetworkService
  • Domain user account

Sectona PAM Solution

Sectona’s Privileged Access Management solution facilitates Auto Discovery and Password Management of service accounts to ensure they are consolidated and secured.

Explore the ease of privileged account access and security across various environments and Operating systems with Sectona Security Platform.