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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Least Privilege Becoming a Matter of National Security

Post by Peter McCalister August 5, 2011

We’ve been saying for years that enterprises need to pay attention to the risk of insider threat. Managing privileged access to IT information is both a security best practice as well as a stepin the right direction as far as productivity goes. Allowing employees and contractors to access information beyond what they need is both irresponsible and expensive, especially as more and more companies fall victim to breaches caused by supposed “trusted” insiders. It’s a very real IT threat, and one that must be addressed at every level. Especially by major utility facilities, as this special report by ABC points out.

U.S. Officials are raising warning flags about the activities of malicious insiders. They posted a bulletin about the threat insiders and their actions can pose when access to resources is not managed and monitored. They explain that, “past events and reporting also provide high confidence in our judgment that insider information on sites, infrastructure, networks, and personnel is valuable to our adversaries and may increase the impact of any attack on the utilities infrastructure.”

Not only is the misues of privileges by those inside our companies critical to our businesses and other information, it’s becoming a matter of national security. Knowing which employees have access to what resources is paramount to the security of both our own enterprises and the safety and success of our Nation. What we need to remember here is that our employees are wildcards. We don’t know if they have accident-prone tendencies or are looking to harm us. If they are malicious, there’s no telling if they want to leak and/or sell the sensitive information held in databases, or if their intentions (like that in the report) are much more grievous. The key is to treat all users the same and allow them access to only those things they absolutely need.

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