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Security In Context

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

Speaking of Human Nature, Desktop Computing And Least Privilege

Post by Peter McCalister October 10, 2011

Indeed, people are known to behave differently inside and outside of the office, where the culture is different. Lines between professional and home life become blurred, and people take the suit off at home, log in in their shorts, but that doesn’t mean they should take their corporate hat off, as well. But what is the answer? Eliminating administrator rights without allowing for the elevation of certain job-necessary privileges is not the answer. Locking down a system is like asking everyone to raise his or her hand to go to the bathroom, – it shows the downside of mistrusting human nature.

Trust is not a value that can be applied in a fixed dose; it has to be measured to meet the needs of the individual’s role. Trust is a medicine that has to be applied carefully in prescribed doses based on role, policy and circumstance. Just as you shouldn’t just gulp down an entire prescription when leaving the pharmacy assuming it will cure the problem in one go, so to you can’t just apply blanket privileges to users throughout your organization and expect that to solve your potential insider breach problem.

If you’ve read the marketing propaganda delivered by most operating system vendors, you have seen that they would like you to believe that their latest version will solve every problem known to exist just short of world hunger and world peace in the process. It behooves you therefore to be aware of many glaring gaps that Windows exposes in privileged identity management.

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