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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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

Who is To Blame When An Insider Breach Occurs?

Posted February 6, 2012    Peter McCalister

As I’ve waded through the hundreds of published insider breaches from just the last two years, what was a clear recurring theme was that of the vagaries of human nature. Not meaning to wax poetic, but it was always an individual who misused their own, or some other insider’s, privileged access authorizations to IT systems to their own devices and/or gains.

That begs two questions:

What sets these people on their path to misuse of privilege?
Are they personally responsible or is the organization’s lack of controls partially responsible as well?

As I have pointed out many times—at the intersection of people, processes, and technology that make up the engine of modern business—it’s human nature that 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, misinformed, 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 the server—for the role they are required to play.

Indeed, when technology is to blame, it’s not always the technology company’s use; it’s the failure to recognize the importance of technology, such as privileged identity management (PIM) systems, which can restrain over-privileged users without hampering productivity, which is at fault. With increasing costs arising from data breaches, including cleanup 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.

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Additional articles

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Big Surprise: Cost of Data Breaches Up; Are you Doing the *Right* Things to Mitigate the Costs?

Posted May 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study – costs are going up – to the tune of a 23% increase in total costs of data breaches, and a 12% increase in per-record cost since 2013. Are you doing the right things to mitigate costs?

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The tip of the IRS data breach – and it IS an iceberg

Posted May 27, 2015    Morey Haber

The IRS has been warned for decades about their security best practices. And now, at least 100,000 Americans have had their records compromised. How? The IRS uses a service called “Get Transcript”.

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Tales from the Datacenter: Vulnerability Management Nightmares

Posted May 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Vulnerability scanning, threat management, risk analysis, patching, and configuration management are some of the major activities usually associated with vulnerability management, and none of these are new…so why are we failing so badly at many of them?

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