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.

Protecting Yourself and Satisfying Auditors With Least Privilege

Posted October 13, 2011    Peter McCalister

Within the complex world of IT infrastructure exists a vitally important group of people: those charged with administering a company’s most critical assets and protecting its most sensitive data. They are known as privileged users, and by definition they possess a collection of access rights reserved only for those a company has entrusted with significant responsibility in safeguarding not just data, but also brand reputation, customer trust, and sustained revenue.

While everyone understands the need for privileged users, many don’t understand how to balance the granting of such privileges with the application of necessary oversight to ensure they aren’t used improperly – either accidentally or purposely.

How does an IT organization achieve this balance? It starts with putting internal controls in place – tracking what privileged users can do as well as monitoring what they’ve done. Even private companies who are not subject to external auditor oversight need to do this.

Can you clearly identify what privileged users can do, when new privileges are granted and why, and when and why privileges are revoked? Do you have a process in place for routinely examining privileges for relevance and appropriateness? Can you prove that all access rights and user accounts associated with a privileged user are disabled immediately upon termination (an important control for all employees but particularly for those with high-level privileges)? These are all important questions to ensure that you are properly managing privileged users.

Next, is there traceability into what privileged users have done? Do you have the ability to log sensitive sessions down to the keystroke level and archive them in case a forensics analysis is required? Can you produce a report at will that shows key events – what was done, when it was done, who did it and on what host it was done?

And of course, while reporting on user access rights and events that have occurred is highly important, there’s one more question to ask yourself: can you actually prevent certain actions from happening? Because at the end of the day, if you can control exactly what privileged users can and can’t do through high-precision policy, then reporting becomes much more about providing proof of compliance and much less about collecting post-mortem evidence in the wake of a disastrous breach.

Leave a Reply

Additional articles

Are Your Data Security Efforts Focused in the Right Area?

Posted January 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Vormetric Data Security recently released an insider threat report, with research conducted by HarrisPoll and analyzed by Ovum. Based on the survey responses, it is apparent that there is still a great deal of insecurity over data. However, the results also show that there may be misplaced investments to address those insecurities. I will explain…

Tags:
ghost

GHOST Vulnerability…Scary Indeed

Posted January 28, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

A vulnerability discovered by Qualys security researchers has surfaced within the GNU C Library that affects virtually all Linux operating systems. The vulnerability lies within the various gethostbyname*() functions and, as such, has been dubbed “GHOST.” GHOST is particularly nasty considering remote, arbitrary code execution can be achieved. In an effort to avoid taxing DNS lookups, glibc developers introduced…

Tags:
,
dave-shackleford-headshot

Your New Years Resolution: Controlling Privileged Users

Posted January 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim – so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild…

Tags:
, , ,