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What technologies or processes are recommended for providing escalated access to production servers for SAs for limited time. I'd like to avoid my SA's from having root access. (Enterprise Environment)

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Assuming you're running Linux with terminal access only, why not let those user use sudo on the terminal?

Sudo lets users that aren't root to run programs with the security privileges of another user (normally the superuser, or root).

To let a user use sudo, they need to be in the so called /etc/sudoers file. It's a file owned by root that holds the names of all users that may use sudo. Before running a command with sudo, users typically supply their password. Once authenticated, and if the /etc/sudoers configuration file permits the user access, the command is run.

When the user session ends, sudo information is discarded and access is restricted until sudo is and authenticated and executed again.

If you're running a graphic interface on the production server, you can run gksudo to use sudo with a graphical front end.

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Sudo is certainly possible, however, I'm trying to avoid SA's having permanent access to sudo. Root access should be event based, not standard operating procedure. –  Jordan Sep 6 '11 at 13:33

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