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Security In Context

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

Treat The Symptom Or Cure The Disease

Post by Peter McCalister August 3, 2011

When virus outbreaks, data thefts and other security breaches impact an organizations computing systems, most will treat the symptoms instead of curing the disease. Treating the symptoms might include updating security software or policies, adding additional layers of security technology, and possibly locking down users so tightly that their productivity suffers.

Unfortunately, most will not address the fundamental underlying disease of users who run with excessive privileges. It is well established that running with excessive privileges on any computing platform is a big security risk. Enforcing the principal of least privilege is a key element of a robust security stance in any organization and should be one of the most important treatment to help cure the disease.

To use a metaphor: If I sneeze, will you give me a tissue and send me on my way? Will you give me cold medicine? How about allergy medicine? Without knowing the cause, “the disease”, then reacting to the sneeze, “the symptom”, will ultimately result in a response that may be over-kill or under-kill.

Knowing that excessive privilege is a key “disease” within your organization will allow you to take more proactive steps in dealing with the situation in the most cost effective manner, neither over or under compensating with your coporation’s information technology security.

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