We’ve talked about Privileged Access and the security dangers they might present in a business where access to information is paramount. It’s a particular target for hackers and malware to find these privileged access admin accounts in order to cause the most damage possible and steal the most of your valuable information possible. One of the best ways to combat this evolving security vulnerability is by implementing the Principle of Least Privilege.
What is the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)?
The Principle of Least Privilege is a process implemented to ensure that the minimum access privilege is granted as necessary in order to increase security measures. This privileged access is minimized only to what is necessary, granted only to whom it is necessary, and only for how long it is necessary. In this case, it could be only what is necessary to perform job duties and troubleshooting. This privilege is only granted to whom it is necessary, whether it is IT or trusted and educated administrators, to complete the task. Lastly, for only as long as necessary, it could mean privileges expire or revoked when the task is complete.
Why is the Principle of Least Privilege Important?
Reduces Opportunity for Cyber Attackers
The more access that is available, the more vulnerable the information can be. Attackers will exploit any opportunity possible to gain access to information. Limiting admin privileges to the least possible will allow for that added security.
Prevents Malware From Spreading
The Principle of Least Privilege will prevent malware from spreading quickly through systems. It will put a stop to any malware that may have infiltrated through one access point and stop it from being able to gain access to everything within a system. This is because, with PoLP, one point of access is limited to only the intended use. It essentially slams a locked door to any outside attackers, even if they gain access to one particular portion of the system.
Audits and Tracking
Principle of Least Privilege allows audits to be carried out more efficiently and ensures more accountability by providing a full audit trail of access granted. This is particularly important because it makes it easier to pinpoint and flag any suspicious behaviour or any abuse of privilege, happening either internally or externally. Hackers can move incredibly quickly, so time is always of the essence. If businesses are able to spot suspicious activity, access can be revoked, and action can be taken immediately.
How Can the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) be Implemented?
A few ways that PoLP can be achieved begins by evaluating who currently has privileged access, and what they have access to. From here, you can determine whether these accesses should expire, or last for one-time-use durations. Eliminate completely any unnecessary privileged access. Once the steps have been taken, and the measures are put into place, continual monitoring and re-evaluating where the Principle of Least Privilege can be tightened as information, access, and staff change and evolve.
Posted on May 14, 2021