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An Apple (Compliance) a Day Keeps the Doctor (Auditors) Away

Posted February 7, 2011    Peter McCalister

There’s an old wives’ tale that explains “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While this advice may not always be the case in the medical industry, it is absolutely accurate when it comes to the world of IT compliance. When you regularly incorporate apples (compliance) into your daily enterprise diet, the doctors (auditors) that come won’t find ailments that need to be fixed.

As new security breaches continue to come to light (almost) daily, stricter compliance requirements are being put into place. Access control rules are being regulated and IT configurations are being mandated. The debate of security versus usability continues to be a hot topic, and the bottom-line is always at the forefront of every decision. What can an enterprise do to be sure a costly audit won’t derail the company? Follow these three steps to good IT health.

  1. Start by eliminating administrator rights for all users who don’t need them for tasks directly related to their job description. Removing the ability for inside data breaches (whether intentional, accidental, or indirect) is one of the bigger apples you can eat in order to keep those auditors at bay.
  2. Have clear and separate duties for each user. With distinctive objectives about what each employee requires in order to do their respective jobs, the privileges allowed to each person will accurately correspond to the amount of privileges they need.
  3. Just as you cannot eat one apple and expect a clean bill of health, you cannot implement aleast privilege policy and assume you’re compliant. You need to continually audit privileges as work roles, new employees, and new data emerge and change.

Compliance is vital to the health of our corporations, as apples (or any other fruit if apples aren’t your thing) are to our health. It’s necessary. Once we accept this and make a place for it in our enterprises, the result will be a healthier, more secure, and more cost effective IT environment.

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