Once we run the above T-SQL query, any account that is part of the sysadmin role in the SQL Server instance has the ability to run the xp_cmdshell extended stored procedure. On the background, when the user with sysadmin privileges runs the xp_cmdshell, it will execute the Windows command shell using the SQL Server Service Account (So if you are executing xp_cmdshell to access certain resource on the network, for example, and you are having permission issue, you might want to make sure that the SQL Server Service Account has permission to that resource).
Now, what if you have a non-sysadmin account that needs to run xp_cmdshell? In order to do that, we would need to do some additional configuration.
Granting non-sysadmins rights to run xp_cmdshell definitely rates as well above-average in terms of risk. I don’t have any problem with xp_cmdshell being turned on—especially considering that by default, only sysadmin accounts get it and sysadmin accounts can turn it on if it’s disabled, meaning it’s effectively always on for sysadmin. But when you start granting non-sysadmin accounts the ability to shell out, you have to be even more careful of protecting that SQL Server instance.