Helpful information on least privilege principle

It is vital to own the best security system to ensure optimum protection from malware or cyberattacks. Not doing so will leave your company’s system open to data theft and security breaches. Even a seemingly slight breach could have massive implications in the future, both financially and infrastructure-wise.

Although there are several ways of doing so, using the least privilege principle is a tried-and-tested concept that ensures the highest levels of cybersecurity. But what is least privilege? And why should you use it for your organization?

According to the least privilege concept, only a few selected users have access to particular features of a system. It could also mean that they should access it as long as they require it for a specific task. When that specific task is completed, you should withdraw the privilege. The purpose behind this is to keep your digital infrastructure free from malware or cyberattacks.

What are its benefits?

1. Narrows the scope of cyberattacks

The first and obvious benefit of implementing the least privileged method is narrowing the scope of suspicious attacks. Even if a user account has been hacked or infiltrated with malware, the overall impact on the organization’s other departments will be limited. The reason is that the user had access to limited features. It will also noticeably minimize the occurrence of worms and viruses to other systems since most of the employees will not have any administrator rights. Therefore, keeping the number of administrator accounts to a minimum is crucial.

2. Provides advanced security at all times

Even though this point might seem like a continuation of the previous one, it needs a separate mention. You might trust your employees at all times, but what happens when one of them decides to misuse their privileges and access rights? The results could be devastating for the stability of your organization. Ensuring that each employee has only the minimum standard of access to confidential information will prevent its misuse and theft.

3. It helps to avoid instability

What happens if a user accidentally ends up reconfiguring a crucial area of the entire network? It could create a lot of inconveniences and even leave it open to errors. Ensuring that the administrator rights are limited to a few user accounts will help avoid such occurrences in the long run.

4. Ensures greater productivity

Studies have shown that granting access to users for a limited time enables them to perform the task quicker, better, and more efficiently since they have access. It is beneficial for the company as productivity is increased. It will also ensure that the IT department is not called upon for issues related to access and privilege.

5. Plays a crucial role in data classification

By extending access to a selected number of uses, you can enable your organization to classify its data efficiently. Since only some people have privileges to a particular feature, it is easy to keep track of who they are, the kind of data being dealt with, and where it is stored in the event of someone deciding to misuse it.

Types of accounts required

To implement the method of least privilege, you will need to create three different types of accounts. These are user accounts, privileged accounts, and shared accounts. Here’s a brief look at each of them.

User accounts

These are the most common accounts usually found in an organization and used by employees. Most of these should have access only to those mandatory features to perform their particular duties.

Privileged accounts

Having privileged accounts is indispensable if you want to make the least access method work in the long run. Even these are divided into two categories. The first type enables only some department employees to access sensitive information. The other category is administrator accounts, through which the administrator enjoys special rights on the network. However, regardless of their type, privileged accounts should only be used when required, and the administrator should closely monitor all their activity. Usually, it’s a good practice for administrators to have both user and privileged accounts.

Shared accounts

Under usual circumstances, it is better not to have shared accounts. However, sometimes you might need to create them for a particular group of users. For instance, shared accounts are required when third-party users need access to the network for a limited period. You should ensure that the privileges are kept to the bare minimum with such accounts.

These points will give you a fair idea of what is least privilege and its numerous benefits. Any business that wants to have the highest level of security should adopt the best methods, and restricting user access is one of the best ways to do that.