The principle of least privilege is a data protection approach that involves granting users, processes, and programs access only to the particular information, apps, or resources they require to complete specific tasks. While giving excessive privileges raises data breach risks and misuse of sensitive data, limiting permissions and access ensures your company’s data security isn’t compromised.
Implementing the principle of least privilege prevents malicious threats that can lead to data, reputational, and financial losses and cyberattacks. Discussed below are the best practices for the principle of least privilege.
1. Use a cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) solution
CIEM tools enable organizations to combat cloud identity and entitlement security challenges. They can help companies enforce the principle of least privilege while automating entitlement management at scale. A CIEM solution, with a good knowledge of permissions, can give you all the information you require to determine the actions to take to ascertain all users are adjusted to a least privileged state. In addition, a CIEM tool enables you to identify all the excessive, outdated, or expired permissions to ensure appropriate action is taken early enough to shield your cloud environment.
2. Invest in privilege audits
Implementing the principle of least privilege can be challenging when you don’t know the current access state in your company. A privilege audit ensures every account has the least privilege permissions. It reviews all the existing accounts, programs, and processes to reduce the risk of privilege creep, a serious administrative oversight. Its stems from allowing users to accumulate unnecessary information access rights exposes your organization to cyber threats, leading to:
- Employee data theft
- Unauthorized data access
- Insider threats
- Compliance breaches
Conducting privilege audits lets you confirm that your staff, devices, robotic processes, applications, and third-party users only have the access and permissions they need to complete their work.
3. Apply separation of privileges
Privilege separation involves splitting a system into disparate components with varying security privileges. This ensures that the breach of one component doesn’t affect the others’ security. The privilege separation principle dictates that access to systems and sensitive data should only be granted to authorized users. To make the most of the separation of privilege principle, implement it at all organizational levels. Ensure users’ accounts are accurately configured to ascertain that only users can access the data and systems they require.
4. Leverage privileged management access tools
Privileged access management (PAM) safeguards companies against deliberate or accidental privileged access misuse by streamlining privileged users’ authorization and monitoring. Implementing this solution can help your company monitor privileged access from a centralized location, enabling you to provision and deprovision account users as they leave the company or their roles change. Implementing PAM lets you automatically track and record every privileged activity throughout the IT department. You can also archive the activities to establish audit-friendly procedures that make it easier to comply with regulatory requirements.
5. Track new permissions
Users might sometimes require more permissions to complete new assignments. The least privilege principle shouldn’t keep you from giving your employees the permissions they need for their job. Tracking the new permissions you grant is essential because it ensures they’re removed immediately when they’re no longer required.
The principle of least privilege enhances data security by granting only the necessary permissions. Consider implementing the principle of least privilege best practices for improved data protection.