The POLP or the principle of least privilege states that a user, program, or a process should have access to only the least or bare minimum privileges necessary for it to perform its functions. It believes in minimal privilege and giving out the least authority for information security.
This principle is based on the theory that access shall be given to the employees only to the extent that is required by them to perform their best. To successfully implement the least privilege principle, you should incorporate the following crucial steps:
- Well Defined Access Levels
All stakeholders, along with all the employees, should be involved in categorizing the access levels. This helps to develop wide acceptance and understanding of the same.
- Department Segregation
Instead of categorizing access levels individually, it will be beneficial to roll them out on a departmental basis. It would make managing these levels easier. Even if an employee or staff moves frequently, you can quickly identify the access level they need by looking at their roles in your organization.
- Re-Review And Checks
Maintain a regular check or keep reviewing from time to time to take care of the access assigned as per roles. Ensure such access is still able to meet up the least privilege and cover up the business requirements.
- Use Groups
When you have to manage the least access privilege in a bigger organization having hundreds or thousands of employees, it might turn out to be a difficult task. Segregation of these employees in groups can prove to be a solution to this issue. It can also ease the process of individually managing the access and permissions. All you need to do is simply add or remove employees from the group who already have access or permissions.
- Set-Up Work Hour Policy
You can restrict the users and maintain your least privilege policy by putting a limitation on their access. The accounts should be accessible only during working hours and not at any odd time the user would log on. This would limit them from unnecessarily accessing your data.
- Other Restrictions
You can implement the least privilege principle by using other restrictions, such as the restriction based on location. You can control the location from which the user gets access to the data, and if the user is at another place than the location approved by you, it will restrict them such access.
Another form of restriction is machine-based, where you can give special access to a machine or system containing privileged data. Only those users who have credentials to log into such machines can access such data.
Implementation of the principle may seem a little tough even for high-end organizations. However, constantly auditing and testing the security boundaries and monitoring privilege access users will help in the easy implementation of the least privilege principle.
It will help you defend not just the external but the internal threats. This, in turn, will enable you to comply easily with the regulatory requirements and simplify the configuration and management process.