How To Implement The Principle Of Least Privilege In Cybersecurity

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The principle of least privilege is a security concept that recommends that any user of the system be given the minimum levels of access needed to perform their duties. This principle is considered one of cybersecurity best practices and it's applied when there's a need to protect a high-value company's information or assets.

The least privilege is also known as the least authority or minimal privilege. It limits the potential damage that can be brought about by unsanctioned activities, whether intentional or unintentional.

The principle of least privilege is a vital cybersecurity concept that can help limit user access rights to only those required to perform a specific task at hand. Regardless of how honest or trustworthy a user is, least privilege can help minimize the chances of cybersecurity attacks. This is because most cybersecurity attacks and data breaches involve credential rights.

How Does The Principle Of Least Privilege Works?

The minimum authority privilege works by allowing users minimal access to only perform the required job. As earlier noted, implementing the least privilege reduces the risk of system attackers gaining access to the company's security-critical information.

The minimal authority privilege can be applied in all levels of the computing system, and it extends beyond human access. It can also be applied to systems and connected devices that require permissions to do a particular job.

What Are The Benefits Of The Principle Of Least Privilege?

The principle of least privilege has several benefits. Some of these benefits are explained here below.

1. Helps Deal With Cybersecurity Attacks

While advancements in technology have come with a lot of benefits, it also has its challenges. Hackers use modern technologies to steal companies' information. They always target applications or systems with unrestricted access or privilege. This allows them to gain access and control of the company's critical information. These attacks can be stopped by following the least privilege principle’s best practices.

2. Creates An Environment With Fewer Liabilities

In some cases, a user might accidentally access a critical area of the network causing harm to the system. The least privilege reduces the number of people in the organization who can access certain system areas. This reduces the chances of many users committing system errors which could harm the system. When a system is damaged, it adds liabilities to the company because some costs must be incurred to rectify the error.

Promotes Data Security

Most system data breaches result from unauthorized users gaining access to privileged credentials allowing them to access the company's information so that they can gain administrator rights. This is a high-end type of cybersecurity attack, and it's known as privilege escalation. You can eliminate the risk of privilege escalation by implementing the principle of minimal privilege.

Why Should You Implement The Least Privilege Principle?

Based on the above benefits, the principle of minimal authority can help improve the stability of the system. It also helps monitor company data and resources across the company's networks.

Apart from that, limiting system access means damage caused to one application or a device by unauthorized users can't impact other applications or devices.

In addition, the principle of least privilege helps reduce the system’s vulnerability because users are only given the bare minimum permission rights to access the system. This minimizes the chances of system security threats.

How Can You Implement The Principle Of Least Privilege?

Here are some ways to implementing the principle of minimum authority privilege.

1. Group Based-Access Management

If you operate a large company with many employees, it might be hard to monitor each system user access. So, it is helpful to integrate identity access management tools in your system to help manage employees' access. These tools help grant users access to the system, application, or devices based on their job roles. It, therefore, manages privilege on a particular group of employees rather than a single employee.

2. Working Hours-Based Access Management

The hours-based method is applicable to employees who work for consistent schedules. It helps limit user access to their working hours. For instance, if an employee works from 9 am to 4 pm, they shouldn't be able to access the system outside that time bracket.

3. Location-Based Access Management

A user in a location-based access setup can access the system within a certain building beyond which they lose the access privilege.

4. Machine-Based Access Management

In the case of machine-based access design, users can only use particular machines or computers to access some applications or systems.

Takeaway

Effective implementation of the least privilege concept involves the proper configuration of modern technologies. There are many benefits of implementing the least privilege principle, all of which aim to protect the company's data.

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