What is the Principle of Least Privilege? Understanding the Modern Security Mindset.

What is the Principle of Least Privilege? Understanding the Modern Security Mindset.

August 30, 2021

By Rhia Prajes

The Principle of Least Privileged (PoLP) is a security principle that mandates every user only be granted access to the information and resources needed to complete a task. For example, a user account created to process customer complaints may not need access rights in an organization’s Marketing folder. Meanwhile, a Marketing team member granted access to SharePoint for campaign resources would not need rights to the customer service team’s ticketing system.

With the use of PoLP, it can be applied to every level of a system, from end users to applications, and from processes to databases. When applied correctly, PoLP minimizes attack surface in the event of a breach and can limit malware propagation through a system; thus, it protects your organization from further damage like ransomware. It also reduces liability by creating less chance for misuse of sensitive information from an internal employee or creating fewer targets for bad actors.

The Principle of Least Privileged structures the organization’s security stability by creating a bolster in your system and supports segmentation of your network. This is how the PoLP complements and enhances the Zero-Trust Security Model, where you never trust and always verify each identity in your environment.

How can you successfully implement Principle of Least Privilege?

To fully implement the Principle of Least Privileged, follow the below best practices to help your organization understand and control access to your critical data:

  • Conduct User’s Privilege Audit: Stakeholders or decision makers must first identify the rights assigned to each team and members to understand the full scope of access available and the potential risks. This involves checking all existing users, processes, and programs so they only have the permissions required for their jobs, or if not, then it is time to revoke high-level power and match it to the employee’s job and authority. This way, no one can access what they should not, and it also enforces data classification.
  • Least Privilege as default access: Bare minimum access must be default to all roles and systems especially for new accounts. One can be added to a specific high-level or additional access on a time and case-specific basis.
  • Enforce separation and time privileges: There must be demarcation lines for system functions for each account, whether admin or standard user accounts. If possible, restrict raised privileges only when a great need arises. Expiring privileges and one-time use credentials can also help minimum access.
  • Monitor and track network activity: The Least Privilege Principle enables better network security and improves audit readiness through a User Access Management. When a flexible access management platform is in place, it does not only modify or remove privilege credentials but also makes individual actions traceable. It also helps identify and separate high-level systems function from low-level access.

The effectiveness of your security principles and practices can be complemented with a reliable IT Partner to fully implement network and systems privileges. As an Award-Winning IT services provider, Metro CSG can help to assess your network and develop the access plan that will protect you from modern cyberthreat and ensure that your most sensitive data remains only available to those that need it.

Contact us today!


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