How Can Least Privilege Principles Facilitate User Management

How Can Least Privilege Principles Facilitate User Management


Managing users on an IT system is a daunting task. Not because there are a few ways to do it, but because there are multiple ways to do it. Picking the right management model is crucial to ensure the safety and security of the entire system.

An increasing number of administrators are adopting the Least Privilege Principle for user management. And there are excellent reasons for doing so, especially from a security standpoint. In this article, you’ll learn how the principle facilitates user management.

What is the Least Privilege Principle?

The Principle of Least Privilege or PoLP states that you should assign only those privileges and permissions to the users they need to perform their job. This is irrespective of how skilled, experienced, or trustworthy they are. No user should have privileges that are beyond his adequacy.

This reduction in the level of access reduces the security risk across the IT infrastructure. Some organizations are also pushing for the least privileges to maintain regulatory compliance. Especially in sensitive sectors like banking, health, insurance, PoLP is gaining prominence among regulators too.

The principle will also help administrators in managing users in multiple ways.

Grouping Users into Separate Groups

Administrators have to deal with hundreds or thousands of users on average. Managing several users is cumbersome and time-consuming. To make the task more comfortable, you can group users by following the Least Privilege Principle.

To begin, you need to identify users that share the same privileges. So you can categorize users who can access sensitive customer records into one group. Similarly, you can create another group where users can only view the records but are not authorized to make modifications.

This grouping makes it easy for you to manage users while ensuring safety.

Monitoring Behavior of Users

By managing users with the least privilege principle, you will be able to monitor their behavior. PoLP encourages you to have traceability in place. So whenever a user takes action like logging in to the system or installing software, it gets recorded. That’s done either using single-factor or multi-factor authentication.

In the 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report published by Verizon, it was revealed that 85% of the breaches had a financial motivation. So you can spot anomalies that characterize financial motivation. This will help you take the necessary measures and prevent breaches before they take place.

Containing Breaches and Cyber Attacks

When there’s a breach, it usually affects the users across the organizations. But with the Least Principle approach, you can contain the breach to a small set of users.

This will only be possible if users are grouped together, and no two groups are linked together. Hackers do not value those accounts that have insufficient privileges. They only go for high privileged accounts.

So you have to make sure that high privileged accounts are grouped together so they do not affect other groups of users. This approach will also not halt the workflow. The other users can carry on with their operation while you fix the breaches.

As companies grow more prominent and add users, they can use the Least Privilege Principle to safeguard their infrastructure.

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Mike John

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