BeyondTrust

Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

Welcome to Security in Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Do Systems Really Fail, Or the Over-Privileged People Running Them?

Posted April 5, 2011    Peter McCalister

According to a recent Symantec sponsored survey, system failure has replaced negligence as the single biggest source of data breach involving UK firms, for the third successive year.  However, that depends on how you interpret the data.

If you add together the types of data breach caused by the vagaries of human behaviors – or as we refer to them intentional, accidental, or indirect harm – the survey suddenly looks very different.  While system failure accounted for 37% of data breaches, “malicious or criminal attacks” accounted for 29% of all data breaches, (up from 22% from 2009), with “negligence” at 34% (down 11 points from the previous year).

 Add these two together, with third party mistakes thrown in for extra measure, and you have over two thirds of data breaches caused by the people who operate the systems (which only fail a third of the time.)  As we have pointed out many times – in the intersection of people, processes and technology which make up the engine of modern business – it’s human nature which is the weakest link.  And, all too often it’s the tendency of almost the entire IT industry – vendors, analysts and press – to ignore this.

Put another way, you can’t rely on everyone being a saint or competent all of the time. It’s not just malicious malcontents intent on destroying the system who can cause havoc, but also the negligent, mis-informed, and down right nosey, who can compromise sensitive data.  In all cases it’s more often than not the case that such people have way too much privilege access – admin rights on the desktop, root password on server – for the role they are required to play.

Indeed, when technology is to blame, it’s not always the technology companies use, it’s the failure to recognize the importance of technology, such asPrivileged Identity Management systems, which can restrain over privileged users without hampering productivity, which is at fault.  With increasing costs arising from data breaches, including clean-up costs, as well as customer churn due to diminished trust, it makes sense not to rely on trust alone, when it comes to employee and third party access to sensitive data.

Leave a Reply

Additional articles

powerbroker-for-mac-diagram-small

PowerBroker for Mac: A Least-Privileged Apple a Day…

Posted July 27, 2015    Jason Silva

BeyondTrust PowerBroker for Mac reduces the risk of privilege misuse by enabling standard users on Mac OS X to perform administrative tasks successfully without entering elevated credentials.

Tags:
, ,
PrivilegedAccountManagement

On Demand Webinar – Now is the time for Privileged Account Management

Posted July 24, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

In this webinar, SANS Instructor and Founder of Voodoo Security, Dave Shackleford, will revisit several hacking and breach scenarios that involved privileged accounts, and use these as examples while discussing tools and tactics to get this problem under control once and for all.

Tags:
, ,
dave-shackleford-headshot

Privileged Account Management: The Time is Now

Posted July 22, 2015    Dave Shackleford

There’s plenty of problems we don’t have great options for in InfoSec today. Malware is a pain point that keeps evolving rapidly. 0-day exploits are tough to prepare for. Privileged account management? We got this. We know the root causes, we know how it manifests, we know how to get it under control effectively, and there are great technology solutions that are enterprise-class.

Tags:
, ,